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  1. #141
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    Four Mosques Have Burned In Seven Weeks - Leaving Many Muslims and Advocates Stunned

    "The short answer is we haven't seen anything like this in the past."


    by Albert Samaha & Talal Ansari - Feb. 28, 2017


    On January 7, the Islamic Center of Lake Travis, in Austin, Texas, which had been under construction, caught on fire. A week later, on January 14, the Islamic Center of Eastside, in Bellevue, Washington, burned.

    Two weeks after that, on January 27, several hours after President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, a fire destroyed the Islamic Center of Victoria, in Texas.

    Then, February 24, a small blaze broke out at the front entrance of the Daarus Salaam Mosque, near Tampa, Florida.

    Authorities have ruled that three of the four fires were caused by arson. An official at the Travis County Fire Marshal told BuzzFeed News that the investigation into the cause of the fire at the Islamic Center of Lake Travis remains open.

    "We've never seen four mosques burned within seven weeks of each other," said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups around the country. "It's part of a whole series of dramatic attacks on Muslims."

    The mosque fires come amid increased fear about hate crimes against minority religious groups. In recent weeks, scores of bomb threats were called into Jewish community centers and schools around the country and graveyards in Jewish cemeteries in three states were vandalized. On Sunday, somebody threw a rock through a window of the Masjid Abu Bakr mosque in Denver. In Redmond, Washington, vandals destroyed the Muslim Association of Puget Sound mosque's entrance sign on two occasions within two months of the election. Two days after the Inauguration, a woman shattered the windows of the Davis Islamic Center, in California, and left strips of raw bacon on a door handle. In January, a white nationalist fatally shot six people at a mosque in Quebec City, Canada. Last week, a white man shot two Indian men, one fatally, at a Kansas bar after making racial slurs, questioning their immigration status, and shouting, "Get out of my country."

    "The short answer is we haven't seen anything like this in the past," Potok said, referring to the overall surge in reported hate crimes across the country. "This is my 18th year here and I haven't seen anything remotely like this."

    To have three mosque fires ruled arson within six weeks is highly unusual, said Corey Saylor, director of the Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia at the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "In normal times, I will see one to two mosque incidents of any type per month, and rarely is it arson," he said. "I can tell you for sure I have not seen levels of violence like this since I started tracking this stuff" in 2009.

    The fire at the Islamic Center of Lake Travis - which nearly two months later is still under investigation - destroyed the partially constructed frame. Community members began raising funds for the building four years earlier.

    "There are a lot more people who are in support of us building this back again than people who oppose us but it takes one crazy guy to do something," Shakeel Rashed, an executive board member of the Islamic Center of Lake Travis, told the Texas Tribune in January.

    "Everybody believes we need to be more vigilant. When we start reconstruction we definitely want to plan the security of the place better, have more cameras," Rashed said.

    In Bellevue, Washington, six days before the inauguration, surveillance cameras caught a man walking toward the Islamic Center of Eastside while carrying a backpack and a gallon jug shortly before 2:45 am, the Seattle Times reported. Less than a minute later, the mosque was on fire. Investigators at the scene found a melted gallon jug and a gas can. Officers arrested Isaac Wayne Wilson, who remained at the scene, smelled of gasoline, and confessed to setting the blaze, according to police. Authorities said there was no evidence it was a hate crime. A year earlier, Wilson, who has a history of mental illness, had been convicted of misdemeanor assault after an incident at the mosque.

    Hours after President Donald Trump signed the controversial executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, someone intentionally set fire to the Islamic Center of Victoria in Texas in the middle of the night, according to investigators, who have yet to identify a suspect. The blaze caused more than $500,000 in damage, and completely destroyed the 16-year-old mosque, shaking the Muslim American community in south Texas. The mosque's president, Dr. Shahid Hashmi, told the Texas Tribune his community would forgive whoever set the fire, but added, "there's no way we can forget. There's no way our children can forget."

    The fire at the Daarus Salaam Mosque in Thonotosassa, Florida, on Friday was at least the third time in seven months that a mosque in the Tampa area had been set on fire, following incidents at the Islamic Education Center in July and the Masjid Omar mosque in August.



    Firefighters responded to the February 24 fire shortly after 2 a.m. - four hours before congregants planned to gather for the early Friday morning prayer session, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Within hours, authorities announced that arson had caused the fire, though they did not specify what evidence led them to that conclusion. At a press conference, Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn called the fire "no different than the wave of anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish community centers and synagogues and bomb threats that have been called in all across the country."

    "Whoever did this maybe intended to discourage us not to be part of this community," Mazen Bondogji, a member of the mosque's board, said at a press conference. "We are part of this community and we will stay."

    The number of reported anti-Islam hate crimes had already been on the rise before the presidential campaign picked up steam in 2016. According to a report by the Council on American-Islamic relations, there were 78 instances of mosques being targeted - counting arson, vandalism and other destruction - in 2015. By comparison, 2014 saw just 20 such incidents. A report released last year by Georgetown University's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding found that in 2015 there were eight instances of arson that targeted mosques, or businesses and homes associated with Muslims.

    FBI data shows that the number of reported anti-Muslim hate crimes surged by 67% from 2014 to 2015 (2016 data is not yet available).

    But in more recent months, the SPLC reported a rise in reported hate crimes following the election of Trump, who campaigned on promises to significantly reduce the number of Muslim immigrants allowed into the country.

    "Donald Trump's campaign and victory has emboldened people on the radical right (extremists) or people who simply hate certain minority groups to act," Potok said. "They feel that their views have been legitimized by the man who is president of the United States."


    https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertsamah...as-2017-begins

  2. #142
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    Anyone 'Who Slaughters Muslims' Will Be Paid Says Note At Silver Spring Mosque

    The CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager urges authorities to conduct a "prompt and thorough investigation into this disturbing incident."

    By Cameron Luttrell - March 1, 2017

    A threatening letter was found in the mailbox of the Islamic Education Society of Maryland on Veirs Mill Road in Silver Spring Monday night, according to reports.

    According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), officials with the Islamic Education Society of Maryland opened the facility's mailbox and found an envelope with a note inside that offered an undisclosed amount of money to anyone "who slaughtered Muslims."

    The note also reportedly had a drawing of two individuals with "arrows piercing their hearts," according to police reports.

    CAIR, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this threatening note.

    "Many faith communities, including Muslims, are increasingly alarmed by the emboldened hate growing throughout our state," said CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Dr. Zainab Chaudry. "We urge federal, state and local law enforcement authorities to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation into this disturbing incident and to bring the perpetrators to justice."

    http://patch.com/maryland/silverspri...-spring-mosque

  3. #143
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    How a Crazy Idea About Islam Went From the Fringe to the White House

    "Ladies and gentlemen, we have to recognize that Islam is not a religion."

    3.2017

    Earlier this month, National Public Radio's Steve Inskeep asked Sebastian Gorka, the deputy assistant to Donald Trump, whether the president believes Islam is a religion. Rather than answering the question, Gorka lambasted the Morning Edition host. "It would be nice if you actually reported things accurately," Gorka responded. "This is not a theological seminary. This is the White House. And we're not going to get into theological debates. If the president has a certain attitude to a certain religion, that's something you can ask him."
    Gorka went on to say that the United States is not at war with Islam: "That would be absurd." Yet Gorka's refusal to answer Inskeep's simple question was telling, as was his insistence on reframing any discussion of Islam in political and ideological terms. "We're talking about national security and the totalitarian ideologies that drive the groups that threaten America," he said.


    Gorka's evasive comments nodded to a fringe concept that's been floating for more than a decade: the idea that Islam is not a legitimate religion, but a dangerous political ideology. This idea has gained new currency as Trump has elevated some of its adherents to the highest levels of his administration. At a conference last summer, Lt. General Michael Flynn, who would become Trump's initial pick for national security adviser, told an audience, "I don't see Islam as a religion. I see it as a political ideology that…will mask itself as a religion globally, and especially in the West, especially in the United States, because it can hide behind and protect itself by what we call freedom of religion." (Flynn resigned last month after lying about his contacts with Russia.)


    Last July, Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart who is now the president's chief strategist, told Mother Jones that Islam is "a political ideology." Previously, Bannon had mocked former President George W. Bush for calling Islam "a religion of peace," and suggested that there is an "existential war" unfolding between Islam and the West.


    Bannon's us-versus-them rhetoric echoes the argument articulated by Samuel Huntington in his controversial 1996 book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order. In it, Huntington described a world split along "fault lines" between "hostile" rival civilizations, of which the "Islamic civilization" is the most troublesome. That narrative took hold among conservative evangelicals and the far-right fringe following the September 11 terror attacks. The recent strain of Islamophobia taps into long-standing Western stereotypes about and prejudices against Islam, says Khaled Beydoun, an associate professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Lawwho studies the intersection of race, religion, and citizenship. These orientalist views portray the Muslim world as a separate civilization, inferior to the West, and inhabited by a monolithic religious and political group. "These tropes, these stereotypes, continue to feed how Muslim identity is shaped and framed by Islamophobes today," Beydoun says. "You see this framing adopted by Trump, and more importantly, the brain trust he has around him."


    Painting the Muslims in such broad strokes feeds into the idea that Islam is not a true religion but rather something akin to a totalitarian cult. In 2002, the Reverand Jerry Falwell declared the prophet Mohammad a "demon-possessed pedophile." In 2007, Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have to recognize that Islam is not a religion. It is a worldwide political movement meant on domination of the world. And it is meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law." In 2010, former Lt. General Jerry Boykin, then the executive vice president of the Family Research Council, stated that Islam "should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and replace it with Sharia law."


    "I think you see an alignment of these very right-wing Christian elements like Boykin viewing Islam as an illegitimate religion—they view the religion as not being a bona fide faith that should be protected by the First Amendment—aligning with nonreligious figures like Michael Flynn, who wrote this book Field of Fight," says Beydoun. In his 2016 book, Flynn wrote, "We're in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people, most of them inspired by a totalitarian ideology: Radical Islam."


    Another step toward the idea that Islam is not a religion is the notion that there is no such thing as peaceful Islam. David Yerushalmi, general council of the Center for Security Policy, once wrote, "Islam was born in violence; it will die that way." He also scoffed at Bush for his "ideological whim to build democracies among a ruthless people who believe in a murderous creed falsely labeled a 'religion of peace.'" In 2010, Bannon, echoed these remarks, saying, "Islam is not a religion of peace. Islam is a religion of submission." Robert Spencer, the director of the Islamophobic site Jihad Watch, wrote a book on the topic: Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't.
    "There is this framing of Islam as less a legitimate religion, the position that Islam isn't a religion in the way we understand Judaism or Christianity or Hinduism, that it's more political in nature, and that Muslims must be viewed as political actors who are following the dictates of this political ideology," Beydoun says. "And if you buy that premise, the next step is, 'These individuals don't deserve the same kind of protections that Jews, Hindus, Christians, and so on do.'"


    In 2011, shortly after the controversy over the so-called Ground Zero mosque and the spread of a conspiracy theory that Shariah was taking over America, the Center for American Progress published a lengthy report titled "Fear Inc.," which documented what amounted to a cottage industry of Islamophobic misinformation. Prominent players include Act for America, a "national security" group that currently boasts Flynn as a board member. Another is Frank Gaffney, the founder of the Center for Security Policy, which has pushed the unlikely notion that Islamists are secretly trying to infiltrate the American government and prominent organizations—including the National Rifle Association—through a process he calls "civilization jihad."


    "These were people who were always on Fox News, being cited on Pamela Geller's blog, who were always on Sean Hannity, the Christian Broadcast Network, the National Review, and others," says Faiz Shakir, the national political director of the American Civil Liberties Union and one of the authors of the report. (Pamela Geller writes a prominent anti-Muslim blog.) "You had major political groups who were then taking this and getting it into the mouths of lawmakers. At that time it was Allen West, Herman Cain, and Michele Bachmann. We went through a period where we had really fought back and marginalized some of these voices," says Shakir. "They lost some credibility and respect in Republican circles—until Donald Trump came around. He gave them the biggest platform they ever could have imagined."


    This network also had links with what would become Trump's inner circle. Gaffney appeared on Bannon's radio show 34 times. Gorka, a former Breitbart editor, has regularly appeared atCenter for Security Policy events and on Gaffney's own radio program. Gaffney once defended the disgraced former FBI agent turned anti-Muslim crusader John Guandolo—who has said that mosques in the United States "do not have a First Amendment right to anything" and has helped draft anti-Muslim legislation.


    Trump himself has expressed some of the key tenets of the Islamophobic right. In late 2015, Trump proposed a total ban on Muslims entering the country, justifying the idea by citing a debunked survey commissioned by Gaffney's Center for Security Policy and conducted by Kellyanne Conway, who would become Trump's campaign manager. The survey claimed that 51 percent of those polled believe that Muslims in America should have the choice to be governed by Shariah, and a quarter agreed that violence against Americans in the United States "can be justified as part of the global jihad." A few weeks earlier, he stated that the United States will have "absolutely no choice" but to shut down mosques because "some bad things are happening."


    There have already been previous efforts to prevent mosques from being built using the "Islam is not a religion" argument. "Those are all real efforts," says Shakir. "They have been on the back burner and bubbling up for a long time, and now they have people in positions of power who can effectuate these radical ideologies that they've long held on to." Until Trump provides some clarity on his true views, people on both sides of the issue may assume that he is unwilling to publicly state that Islam deserves the same legal status and protections as other religions.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/...n-islamophobia

  4. #144
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    Man Breaks Into Mosque, Rips Up Copies Of Quran

    Another day, another mosque vandalized in America.

    By Christopher Mathias - 03/14/2017


    An unidentified man broke into an Arizona mosque early Monday morning and ripped up copies of the Quran.

    The Islamic Center of Tucson wrote in a Facebook post that the man, seen in surveillance footage wearing a University of Arizona T-shirt, entered the mosque at about 3:30 a.m. Monday.

    "He ripped copies of the Qur'an and threw them around the prayer room before leaving the building," the center wrote. "Thankfully no one was hurt."

    Two of the estimated 130 damaged Qurans #Tucson



    "The camera footage leads us to believe the sole intent of this individual was to damage the center's religious property," the center wrote in another post. "The Tucson Police Department responded quickly. As always, they were kind, courteous, and thorough with their investigation."









    The department's Sgt. Kim Bay told Tucson News Now that police were searching for the man seen in surveillance footage.

    "There is no indication this was a hate crime," Bay said, adding that the department wanted to question the man before speculating about his motives.

    "Although we are disheartened by this incident, we understand that this is an isolated incident," the center wrote. "The ICT has been a part of the Tucson community since the late 1980's and since then, the Tucson community has been kind, welcoming, and supportive."

    Imraan Siddiqi, executive director at the Arizona chapter of The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, called on "local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime and for religious and political leaders to speak out against the growing Islamophobia in our state and nation that results in such acts of bigotry."

    The attack on the mosque comes amid a frightening surge in hate incidents targeting Muslims.

    Hate crimes rose 7 percent in the U.S. in 2015, according to the FBI, a rise driven largely by a 67 percent increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims. The FBI hasn't released hate crime statistics for 2016.

    Also in 2015, mosques were targeted for vandalism, arson and other types of destruction 80 times, a nearly 400 percent rise from 2014, according to a report from CAIR.



    In a seven-week span this year, three mosques in the U.S. have fallen victim to arson, according to authorities. And just this past weekend, a mosque in Michigan caught fire, although the cause of that blaze is unknown.

    Meanwhile, the number of anti-Muslim hate groups tripled in 2016, according to a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a rise the SPLC attributed to the anti-Muslim rhetoric of President Donald Trump.

    Members of the Islamic Center of Tucson have faced anti-Muslim sentiment themselves. "Terrorist, go back to where you came from!" someone shouted from a car window at the Islamic Center's president, Ahmed Meiloud, last year.

    And college students in neighboring private high-rise dorms are known to throw bottles and cans at mosque members. "Yes, these are students, usually drunken students, but these attacks aren't random," Meiloud told The New York Times. "We are the target."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...2d3bb?o65n4s4i

    comments:

    "Not a hate crime", yeah what else are they going to say when their own attacks Muslims.

  5. #145
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    What's wrong with this photograph?




    A PHOTOGRAPH of a woman wearing a headscarf showing apparent indifference to a stricken victim of the London terror attacks overnight has provoked a storm of outrage on social media.

    Twitter user Texas Lone Star kicked off the controversy by tweeting the picture with the comment “Muslim woman pays no mind to the terror attack, casually walks by a dying man while checking phone” along with the hashtags #PrayforLondon and #BanIslam.

    While the tweet has been shared hundreds of times, Lone Star Texas was quickly put in his (or her) place when another user posted an almost identical photograph — this time featuring a white man walking past a similar scene while “doing nothing”, which hasn’t attracted the same amount of attention.

    Not that it would have been appropriate for either passer-by to have inserted themselves into a scene which was clearly already under the control of professionals helping the respective victims.

    It is a classic example of how easy it is to take an image out of context and use it for the purpose of propaganda.

    Lone Star Texas is called out by user @rashedalyoha, who points out that nobody is shaming the man despite the fact that he “did the same thing”.

    Another user, Barbara Davis, said: “Can no one see why a Muslim woman wearing a head scarf might be worried for her safety at that point? The white guy not so much”.

    RogueBennyBen put everything in perspective with this comment: “who knows what they were doing. Plenty of people involved. May even have been told to walk on. Judgment not needed”.

    Australian lawyer, activist and social commentator Mariam Veiszadeh, who is Muslim, posted a heartbreaking tweet saying she avoided using public transport this morning for fear of being judged and that the response to the photograph validated those fears.




    More at :
    http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/social/whats-wrong-with-this-photograph/news-story/9fafd1a593f4c94e86c782b6b59cf385


    London attack: Woman in hijab pictured on Westminster Bridge was 'traumatized not indifferent', photographer says

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-a7647881.html




    http://share.pho.to/AeZ9R


  6. #146
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    Muslim Woman, Targeted by Islamophobes, Speaks Out




    This Muslim woman fought back after being falsely criticized for her response to the Westminster terror attack.

    video: https://www.facebook.com/Channel4New...54685476691939

  7. #147
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    Man Tore Up a Quran at School Meeting

    A man tore up a Quran and yelled hate speech at a school board meeting because the school allows Muslim students to do Friday (Jummah) prayers.

    video: https://www.facebook.com/ajplusengli...26961664112008


    The Texas AG sued to keep a Bible quote in school. Now he's troubled by Muslim prayers.


    By Avi Selk * March 19, 2017

    Every day at lunch, a handful of teenagers in Frisco, Tex., would pop into room C112, face a whiteboard and kneel for one of their five daily prayers.

    It was just a spare classroom, used for everything from teachers' grading to Buddhist meditation, school officials say. But Muslims at Liberty High seemed to like it.

    "Takes like five minutes, instead of having to leave school, get in a car and go to my parents," junior Sarah Qureshi told the school news site early this month.

    "This is the seventh year we've been doing this, and we've never had one issue," school principal Scott Warstler said.

    Last week, however, top state officials learned about the room - and suddenly Liberty High had a big issue indeed.

    The Texas attorney general's office - famous for once suing a middle school principal to keep a Bible quote on a door - sent the Frisco school district superintendent a letter Friday raising "concerns."

    "It appears that the prayer room is 'dedicated to the religious needs of some students,'" a deputy attorney general wrote in the letter, quoting an article written by an 11th grade student, "namely, those who practice Islam."

    In a news release the same day, the attorney general's office went further: "Recent news reports have indicated that the high school's prayer room is ... apparently excluding students of other faiths," the release said.

    That would be a constitutional violation, the Texas AG's office noted.

    And totally untrue, according to Frisco Independent School District officials, who say state officials didn't even ask them about the prayers before the letter ended up in Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's tweet.

    "This 'press release' appears to be a publicity stunt by the OAG to politicize a nonissue," schools superintendent Jeremy Lyon wrote in reply to the state. "Frisco ISD is greatly concerned that this type of inflammatory rhetoric in the current climate may place the District, its students, staff, parents and community in danger of unnecessary disruption."

    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has often criticized what he calls anti-Christian discrimination in Texas schools. In 2015, Paxton joined 15 other states in opposing an atheist society's lawsuit to stop school board officials from reading religious prayers before public meetings.

    Paxton attracted national attention last December when he waded into a dispute in Killeen, Tex., between a middle school principal and a nurse's aide who put up a six-foot poster in the school with a quote from the classic animation special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" that read: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord."

    After the principal told the aide to take the poster down, Paxton wrote to the Killeen school district: "These concerns are not surprising in an age of frivolous litigation by anti-Christian interest groups ... Rescind this unlawful policy."

    When the school district refused, Paxton helped the nurse's aid sue, and won.

    Three months later, his eye fell on Frisco.

    We "recently became aware of Liberty High School's prayer room," Deputy Attorney General Andrew Leonie wrote to the schools superintendent - about two weeks after the room was profiled in the student newspaper. "Our initial inquiry left several questions unresolved."

    It sounded like the state had been investigating the matter, but school officials said they were blindsided when reporters started calling on Friday.

    "What initial inquiry are you referring to?" the superintendent wrote in his reply to Paxton's office, asking for evidence that the school was breaking any rules, and whether the state had made any attempt to find out before going public.

    A week before the attorney general's letter, Liberty High's principal had welcomed all students to use the room in an interview with KERA public radio.

    "All sorts of folks use it," school district spokesman Chris Moore told The Washington Post on Saturday. "Muslims pray, Baptists pray, Catholics pray, Buddhists pray, Hindu students pray."

    Moore said he called and emailed Paxton's office after learning about the letter, but had not received a reply.

    The Post asked Paxton's office what led the state to become concerned about the prayer room, and what inquiries state officials had made after learning about it. A spokesman for the attorney general replied with a statement that did not directly answer most of the questions:

    "The letter was sent to the school district via email prior to issuance of a press release," the spokesman wrote. "We sent the letter to clarify unresolved questions in the interest of protecting religious liberty in public schools across Texas (the same interest we sought to protect in the Charlie Brown matter)."

    But as of Saturday, school officials in Frisco were still trying to figure out exactly what Paxton's issue was.

    "We hadn't been contacted by right-wing groups, left-wing groups or in-between groups," Moore said. "Getting that question yesterday from the attorney general was surprising."

    Regardless, he said, the room would be open for prayer as usual come lunchtime Monday - as it has for many years.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...om-for-muslims

    comments:

    They call it "Christian persecution" when they can't have their bible in school, but then they can't stand it when another religion wants the same right. Hypocrites!

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    Islamophobe Tries to Burn Down Indian Store Thinking They're Muslims

    A man assumed a store's Indian owners were Muslim. So he tried to burn it down, police say.

    By Amy B Wang - March 12, 2016


    A Florida man who attempted to set fire to a convenience store told deputies that he assumed the owner was Muslim and that he wanted to "run the Arabs out of our country," according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.

    The sheriff later said the store owners are actually Indian, appearing to make this the latest in a string of incidents targeting South Asians mistaken for people of Arab descent.

    Around 7:40 a.m. Friday, police received calls that a white male was acting suspiciously in front of the Met Mart convenience store in Port St. Lucie, officials said.

    Deputies arrived to find the store closed, with its security shutters intact - as well as a 64-year-old man named Richard Leslie Lloyd near a flaming dumpster.

    "When the deputies arrived, they noticed the dumpster had been rolled in front of the doors and the contents were lit on fire," St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said in a statement posted on Facebook. "Upon seeing our deputies, the man put his hands behind his back and said 'take me away.' "

    Lloyd "told deputies that he pushed the dumpster to the front of the building, tore down signs posted to the outside of the store and lit the contents of the dumpster on fire to 'run the Arabs out of our country,' " Mascara said.

    An arrest report said Lloyd had been in the store a few days ago but got upset when it didn't carry his favorite orange juice, according to WPTV News.

    Lloyd also stated that he assumed the Met Mart owner was Muslim and that it angered him "due to what they are doing in the Middle East," the sheriff said.

    Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze, authorities said.

    Lloyd was arrested Friday and booked into the St. Lucie County Jail in lieu of a $30,000 bond. His mental health will be evaluated, and the state attorney's office will decide whether the incident was a hate crime, according to the sheriff.

    "It's unfortunate that Mr. Lloyd made the assumption that the store owners were Arabic [Arabs] when, in fact, they are of Indian descent," Mascara said. "Regardless, we will not tolerate violence based on age, race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, mental or physical disability."

    The sheriff also thanked those who called 911 when they noticed Lloyd in front of the store.

    A message left with Met Mart on Sunday morning did not receive a response.

    The incident appears to be the latest crime targeting people of South Asian descent. In its most recent report, the nonprofit group South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) noted there were 207 documented "incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities" from late December 2015 through Nov. 15, 2016, one week after the presidential election. That represented a 34 percent increase in incidents in less than a third of the period covered in SAALT's 2014 report.

    An "astounding" 95 percent of incidents were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment, according to the group. "Notably President Trump was responsible for 21% of the xenophobic political rhetoric we tracked," it said.

    The group held a vigil on the steps of Congress on Friday.

    "At a time when South Asian, Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, and Arab community members are facing hate violence and harassment on nearly a daily basis, we need real leadership from Washington to stem the tide of injustice," Suman Raghunathan, the group's executive director, said in a statement. "Waiting nearly a week before commenting on a deadly shooting in Kansas won't do it. Issuing a second toxic Muslim Ban won't do it. We need direct action from this administration to forge inclusion, justice, and hope in this quintessential nation of immigrants."

    Last week, a 39-year-old Sikh man was shot while working on his car in his driveway in Washington state. The gunman reportedly told him to "Go back to your own country" before pulling the trigger, according to the Seattle Times.

    Last month, a man reportedly yelled at two Indian men to "get out of my country" before opening fire at a bar in Kansas. One of those men, 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was killed, while another, 32-year-old Alok Madasani, was injured. A man who tried to intervene, 24-year-old Ian Grillot, was injured.

    Adam W. Purinton, 51, a Navy veteran, was later arrested at a bar in Missouri, where he reportedly bragged about killing two Middle Eastern men, according to the Kansas City Star. Purinton has since been charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. The FBI has said it is investigating the shooting as a hate crime.

    Kuchibhotla and Madasani were from India but living in the United States and working as engineers for Garmin, the technology company. After the shooting, their relatives said they worried that the United States was no longer safe for Indians, citing what they called an increasingly xenophobic atmosphere.

    "There is a kind of hysteria spreading that is not good because so many of our beloved children live there," Venu Madhav, a relative of Kuchibhotla, told The Washington Post then. "Such hatred is not good for people."

    Kuchibhotla's widow told reporters two days after her husband's death that she had told him many times that they should go back to India but that Kuchibhotla was not afraid of staying. "He always assured me good things will happen to good people," Sunayana Dumala said then.

    Madasani's father told the Hindustan Times that there was an increasingly hate-filled atmosphere in the United States and that it was linked to the election.

    "The situation seems to be pretty bad after Trump took over as the U.S. president," the father said, according to the newspaper. "I appeal to all the parents in India not to send their children to the United States in the present circumstances."

    The White House said linking the crimes to Trump's rhetoric was absurd, according to Reuters.



    After being roundly criticized for not speaking out forcefully about the issue, Trump addressed the Kansas shooting in his speech to Congress a week later.

    As Sangay K. Mishra, author of "Desis Divided: The Political Lives of South Asian Americans," wrote for The Post last week, the South Asian community has suffered from "security racializing" since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, in which all immigrants from across a broad region are treated as potential terrorists.

    "The people I spoke with came from different religions, nationalities and cultures - but found themselves treated as similarly foreign and dangerous," Mishra wrote. "In public spaces like bars and airports, strangers and law enforcement officials were suspicious of their brown bodies. A number of young South Asians in Los Angeles and New York told me that in the months and years after 9/11, they were uncomfortable going to a bar alone. They feared being yelled at, called racial slurs or even physically attacked - which, in some cases, had indeed happened."

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...ms-were-indian

  9. #149
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    35 mosques have been attacked so far in 2017 — and Trump hasn't uttered a word




    Hadeel Salah Esmat first found out her mosque, the Islamic Center of Fort Collins in Colorado, had been vandalized when she saw pictures of the crime scene on the center's Facebook page. Glass windows at the 5-year-old mosque were shattered, and the prayer carpets spread on the floor were littered with glass shards, bricks and a copy of the Bible.


    "I always said I was so happy to be from Fort Collins because I never thought something like this would happen here," Esmat, a 19-year-old Colorado State University student, said. "It's scary and terrifying. This is a reality check."


    On Sunday, the Islamic Center of Fort Collins became the site of the latest act of vandalism against mosques in the country. The Council on American Islamic Relations has compiled a list of 35 anti-mosque incidents in the United States since the start of the new year, as of Monday. In other words, that's about one attack on a U.S. mosque for every 2.5 days.


    Anti-mosque incidents are on track to surpass the record set in 2016, when 139 incidents were reported, according to Corey Saylor, who directs the Council on American-Islamic Relations' department to monitor and combat Islamophobia.


    Despite the uptick in anti-mosque attacks and a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes, the Trump administration, including President Donald Trump himself, has been silent about these acts of violence in the United States.


    Trump did, however, call Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after a notedTrump supporter walked into a mosque in Quebec City and fatally shot six people in late January. On Feb. 28, Trump condemned anti-Semitic vandalism and an apparent hate crime on two Indian men in Olathe, Kansas, who were mistaken for Middle Easterners.


    But after attacks like the one on the Fort Collins mosque, which calls to mind the vandalism of Jewish community centers that Trump has addressed, the president has yet to speak out.


    Condemning anti-Muslim attacks is critical to decreasing these incidents, according to Saylor, especially since Trump's name has occasionally appeared in graffiti on mosques, and in letters sent to Islamic centers across the country.


    On March 19, an Islamic center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received a letter addressed to "the Children of Satan," stating Muslims should pack up their bags and leave because "there’s a new sheriff in town — President Donald Trump." The letter ended with a warning that Trump will cleanse America just like "what Hitler did to the Jews."


    Before the incident at Fort Collins, four mosques across the country were set on fire over the course of seven weeks. The Islamic Center of Victoria in Texas was set ablaze just hours after Trump signed an executive order barring immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.


    "When the president does not acknowledge these [anti-mosque] attacks as part of a pattern, and when he does not use the language of condemnation, or gives no response," Nazir Harb Michel, a senior researcher at Georgetown University's Bridge Initiative, said in a phone interview, "he keeps he story at a low level away from people's attentions."


    Saylor said the most drastic spike in anti-Muslim violence began at the start of the 2016 election cycle. Since then, Trump and his administration
    have perpetuated plenty of falsehoods about Muslims, ranging from "Islam hates us" to spreading the notion that Muslims are inherently more violent toward women. As long as anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric continue to be at the core of his administration's agenda, Saylor said the threat of Islamophobic extremism will continue.


    "The administration continues to put out rhetoric that enables the hate of minorities," Saylor said. "He needs to make sure there's a very clear message coming from his administration that all forms of bigotry will be rejected."

    https://mic.com/#.AMXwZsaEm

  10. #150
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    Donald Trump: Islamophobic Incidents at US Borders 'Rise by 1,000%' Since President Took Office

    The group reported 193 cases in the first three months - up from 17 in 2016

    By Andrew Buncombe - 4/27/2017

    The number of incidents of Islamophobia involving US Customs and Borders Protection officials has increased by around 1,000 per cent since Donald Trump took office, according to a Muslim activist group.

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said preliminary data collated from its branches across the country, found that instances in which officials were accused of profiling Muslims accounted for 23 per cent of its caseload in the first three months of 2017.

    Of the 193 CBP cases recorded from January-March 2017, 181 were reported after the January 27 signing of the Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States Executive Order, also known as the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban. In the first three months of 2016, the group reported 17 cases.


    "These are incidents which are reported to us and which we examine," Corey Saylor, director of CAIR's group that monitors Islamophobia, told The Independent. "We look at these very carefully. Around 50 per cent, we reject."

    Mr Saylor said allegations of Islamophobia being levelled at border officials was nothing new. Yet, he said he believed the election of Mr Trump and the signing of two executive orders designed to crackdown on undocumented migrants and to refuse entry to citizens from six Muslim-majority countries, was behind the spike in incidents.

    "I have no doubt in my mind that these things are connected," he said.

    In the aftermath of Mr Trump's orders, which have been halted by the courts, there were widespread reports of chaos at US airports, and of people being turned away as they sought to board flights to the US at foreign airports.


    https://www.graphiq.com/vlp/3juNKmbSZJb

    Mr Trump vowed during his election campaign that he would make it more difficult for people from certain countries to reach the US as party of tighter security, despite immigrants from countries such as Syria and Somalia already having to endure screening that can take several years.

    Mr Saylor said he appreciated the difficult job being faced by border officials, but asked that they did it without breaching the US constitution. He said customs officials routinely asked questions of Muslim traveller that were both invasive and made little common sense.

    He cited testimony of a Customs and Border Protection official from a 2013 lawsuit, who said: "Look to the Muslim woman as an indicating factor. By the way she wears her hijab. If the hijab is a solid colour it indicates religiosity. If it's a patterned scarf, with colours, it's more likely that she is less religious."

    US Customs and Borders Protection did not immediately respond to inquiries.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a7702351.html

  11. #151
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    SPLC Finds Staggering Spike In Anti-Muslim Groups, Attributes Rise To Trump

    The Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual intelligence report found 2016 was a “banner year for hate” that saw a staggering 197 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States.


    The SPLC said this dramatic rise could be attributed in large part to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and blistering rhetoric about Islamic terrorism.


    In a Wednesday briefing call with reporters, SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok called Trump “the most important factor” behind the staggering increase in anti-Muslim hate groups. The group tracked 34 of those groups in 2015, compared to 101 in 2016.


    The President’s executive order temporarily barring immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, suggestion that American Muslims decline to tell law enforcement about terrorist attacks being planned in their communities, and pledges to surveil mosques and Muslim neighborhoods played into this “vilification” of Muslims, Potok said.


    Trump has argued that the travel restrictions are not a “Muslim ban” and that his approach is about being “tough and vigilant” about the threat of terrorist attacks. Asked Wednesday about the rise in anti-Semitic, xenophobic and racist incidents after his election, the President said his administration would do its best “to stop long-simmering racism and every other thing that’s going on.”


    “I think a lot of good things are happening and you’re going to see a lot of love,” Trump said. “You’re going to see a lot of love. OK?”


    Potok also cited the refugee crisis caused by the ongoing Syrian civil war, a “growing circle of very well-funded anti-Muslim propagandists” and attacks by individuals claiming allegiance to the Islamic State in cities like Orlando, Florida as factors that contributed to the sharp spike in anti-Muslim hate groups.


    Potok pointed to the FBI’s most recent hate crimes report, which found a 67 percent increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2015, to corroborate his claims.


    In 2016, reports proliferated about arsons at mosques throughout the country, women having their hijabs pulled off in public and Sikh men being physically assaulted.


    The proliferation of anti-Muslim hate groups and rise in anti-Muslim hate incidents documented by the SPLC ran wasn’t matched by other hate and extremist groups, however.


    Despite the sharp spike in hate crimes immediately after Election Day, the SPLC found that the white nationalist organizations that glommed onto Trump’s campaign primarily interacted online, while the anti-government “patriot” groups animated by Barack Obama’s presidency stood down in response to a candidate who they believed was sympathetic to their views.


    “There hardly seemed a reason to organize their own rallies when extremists could attend a Trump event filled with just as much anti-establishment vitriol as any extremist rally,” the report reads.


    The overall level of hate groups remained relatively stable, according to the report, though close to 2011’s record tally of 1,018. Over the past year, the total number of hate groups tracked by the SPLC grew from 892 to 917.




    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckrak...ampaign=buffer

  12. #152
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    Pro-Trump Islamophobe goes psycho on Muslim Family

    [IMG]https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/2017-05/10/14/asset/buzzfeed-prod-fastlane-01/sub-buzz-27632-1494439306-5.jpg?downsize=715:*&output-format=auto&output-quality=auto[/IMG]
    A family reunion turned ugly when an allegedly intoxicated man repeatedly berated the group with insults and taunts.

    video: https://video-cdn.buzzfeed.com/31272...080/1494434435


    A man was caught on video delivering a long anti-Muslim tirade against a family vacationing last week on a Texas beach, repeatedly screaming at them about sharia law, ISIS, and Donald Trump.

    Fourteen members of the family were on weeklong reunion in South Padre Island when the man, who was identified in a police report obtained by BuzzFeed News as Alexander Downing, of Waterford, Connecticut, approached them.

    "You're a fucking Muslim, motherfucker," the man says at one point in front of the family, which included children playing on the beach just feet away. "You will never ever, ever stop me, my Christianity," the man says, "from rising above your sharia law. Your sharia law don't mean **** to me."

    Sharia — a religious code of conduct, no different than those contained in other Abrahamic religions — has often been used as a fear-inducing term associated with anti-Western beliefs in recent years.

    The video, which was captured by Noria Alward, 19, and posted on YouTube, shows Downing, intoxicated, approaching the family in an aggressive manner — repeatedly shouting obscenities and veiled threats while pointing his finger in their faces.



    "When he called it his country. It is my country too," Ahmed, another member of the family, told BuzzFeed News over email. "America is my country whether he likes it or not."

    Ahmed said he did not want to reveal his last name for fear of further abuse or harassment.

    BuzzFeed News attempted to reach Downing for comment. A woman who answered the number listed for him on the police report said she would deliver a message to him.

    The family, who kept their composure in the five-minute video, at one point called the police after Downing left for the nearby South Padre Pearl Hotel and returned.

    "Guess what? ISIS don't mean **** to me, motherfuckers," Downing says again in the video, as he circles back towards the group, shouting in the face of another man.

    "Donald Trump will stop you. Donald Trump will stop you! Donald Trump got you motherfuckers. Watch... watch."

    He then proceeds to grab his crotch, in front of children, telling the group to "suck my dick."

    "I want people to understand that this man needs to be charged with indecent behavior in front of kids and a minor," Ahmed said of the man's gestures.



    "My country is the greatest country in the world," Downing screams. He then begins to thump his chest repeatedly with his fists, while shouting, "Come **** with Donald Trump. That's my motherfucking president!"

    The end of the video shows Downing in the distance being arrested by officers from South Padre Island Police Department, according to Ahmed.

    BuzzFeed News contacted South Padre Island Police Department and confirmed Downing's May 2 arrest. The incident report states that he was arrested for public intoxication and the responding officer "determined that he was intoxicated in a public place and was a danger to himself and others."

    Ahmed said that, despite being arrested, Downing appeared in the lobby of the hotel the following day.

    "I want people to also know that the hotel did not do anything to protect us," Ahmed said, claiming the hotel staff originally told him they would be evicting Downing if and when he returned after his arrest. "We will definitely go back to the beautiful island but will never go back to the Pearl Hotel," Ahmed said.

    Abdel Zouari, general manager at the South Padre Pearl Hotel, told BuzzFeed News that the incident in question took place outside of the hotel on a public beach, and the hotel was unaware of the details of the incident until staff watched the video on Wednesday morning.

    "So we couldn't really have the full story except that the police arrested the guy and the next day the guy checked out. But we care about our guests, we care about whatever happens in our hotel. Unfortunately, this happened outside the hotel," Zouari said.

    Looking back, Ahmed said he wanted to make it clear that he believes that this individual "doesn't represent the masses" but "needs to be charged for what he's done." He also wanted "to thank all the beachgoers that stood by our side," specifically referring to a man who can be seen throughout the video attempting to create a buffer between the two groups.

    "Hats off to him."


    https://www.buzzfeed.com/talalansari...yNy#.gxpMg9yYy



  13. #153
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    Texas teachers give ‘most likely to become a terrorist’ award to 13-year-old

    By Amber Ferguson

    May 26, 2017

    Seventh-grader Lizeth Villanueva has been in her school’s academic honors program for two years. She gets good grades and has never been a discipline problem. Yet on Tuesday, her teacher gave her a “most likely to become a terrorist” award.

    It was supposed to be a joke, part of a mock end-of-the-year awards ceremony at Anthony Aguirre Junior High in Channelview, Tex., near Houston, where a group of teachers hand certificates to students. Lizeth, 13, said her teacher “just laughed” when she signed and handed her the certificate, just one day after the Manchester arena terrorist attack in Britain.

    But Lizeth’s mother Ena Hernandez didn’t find the award funny at all.

    “I was upset and very mad when I saw the award,” Hernandez told The Washington Post. “I was surprised because my daughter has been doing well in the honors program.”

    Lizeth, who is Salvadoran American, wasn’t laughing either. Her emotion was one of shock, she said.

    She said two honors classes were brought together for the fake ceremony. Other awards included “most likely to cry for every little thing” that was given to a girl and “most likely to become homeless” that was presented to a boy.

    The three other teachers in the room laughed when the awards were handed out, according to Lizeth.

    Channelview Independent School District spokesman Mark Kramer told KPRC the awards were a “poor attempt to poke fun” and it “wasn’t well thought out.”

    Hernandez said the principal Eric Lathan personally apologized during a meeting at the school.

    In a statement the school district said:

    “The Channelview ISD Administration would like to apologize for the insensitive and offensive fake mock awards that were given to students in a classroom. Channelview ISD would like to assure all students, parents and community members that these award statements and ideals are not representative of the district’s vision, mission and educational goals for our students.

    “The teachers involved in this matter have been disciplined according to district policy and the incident is still under investigation.”

    Hernandez says she wants them fired or else “they will continue doing the same thing.”

    Lizeth hasn’t been back to school because she “feels uncomfortable.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/ampht...o-13-year-old/

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    Galveston restaurant owner closing business due to 'death threats,' anti-Muslim harassment, he says

    By Darla Guillen - June 13, 2017


    A Galveston restaurant launched by a Muslim business owner is shutting down following months of harassment.

    Late last year, Asad Khan said he arrived at his island establishment ZaZa Bar & Bites to find the front of the business was covered in bacon and bacon grease. Khan, who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 1993, is Muslim. It's common practice for Muslims to abstain from pork.

    He filed a report with the Galveston police immediately following the incident. Since the vandalism, he said the harassment intensified.

    Khan explained that he ultimately made the difficult decision to shut down his restaurant.

    "I shut ZaZa down because of death threats towards me via phone calls," Khan said. "In the last seven weeks or so (the) calls become worse. I did not enjoy being called "sand ni**er" or people telling me that I will die in ZaZa."

    Some people on social media have accused Khan of fabricating the story. He refutes allegations that financial troubles are the actual the reason for the shutter, adding that this business was not his sole source of income.

    "I had seen on Facebook when ZaZa was 'baconed' last year that people down here believed that I was behind it. It really hurt me. There is no bankruptcy, none being filed," he said. "It's easier to blame the victim than accept we have a problem."

    The closing comes at the peak of Galveston's tourism season.

    "I opened ZaZa (as) a happy little fun project; this was supposed to (be) fun and love. Never did I think that people in Galveston are so closed-minded," he said. "People want me dead because of me being a Muslim. I am honestly sick to my stomach. And frankly, fearful."

    http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/ba...t-11217104.php

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    Another Violent Ramadan

    By Engy Abdelkader - 06/25/2017

    Around the world, Muslims are partaking in festivities for Eid-ul-Fitr, a religious holiday celebrating the end of a month long fast. At home, in the U.S., the day also marks the end to another violent Ramadan representative of a larger pattern of intensifying Islamophobia.

    While the murders of two American heroes, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, in Oregon and a Muslim American teenager, Nabra Hassenan, near her local mosque in Virginia received considerable news coverage, a number of lesser known acts and threats of anti-Muslim violence contributed to continued concerns about the minority faith group’s safety and security, not to mention the status of religious freedom in practice.

    Alarmingly, over the course of a mere thirty (30) days, fasting Muslims consumed a regular diet of physical assaults, verbal harassment and mosque attacks, among other Islamophobic incidents around the country. Consider the following distressing events:

    · In New York, a Manhattan mosque received a threatening letter promising a massacre “on a scale never seen before;”

    · In Boston, MA, a male passenger on a train physically assaulted a 61 year old Muslim American woman observing hijab after yelling Islamophobic slurs;

    · In the Bronx, NY, a pellet gun shooter targeted a local mosque causing property damage;

    · In Mathis, TX, a Muslim owned convenience store – that had previously received threats such as, “You are Muslim, we are going to burn your store,” – was set ablaze in an arson;

    · In Denver, Colorado, mosques received a rash of hateful phone calls threatening violence;

    · In Hickory Hills, Chicago, Muslim American teenage girls observing hijab were harassed while dining at a local restaurant;

    · In Kent, Washington, a Muslim high school staff member received a threatening note stating, “F—— + Ramadan + All Muslims;”

    · In Columbus, Ohio, an attacker yelled, “You will be shipped back to Africa,” at a Muslim woman observing hijab prior to beating her unconscious;

    · In Santa Barbara, CA, a group of men verbally accosted a Muslim woman walking on a local college campus, laughing while threatening to get a gun;

    · In South Florida, a mosque was evacuated after receiving a bomb threat;

    · In Portland, OR, a man yelled “take the burka off, this is America, go back to your f***ing country,” at a Muslim couple while making hand gestures in the shape of a gun and pulling the “trigger;” and

    · In Sacramento, CA, Muslims found desecrated Qur’ans outside two mosques.


    To better understand the traumatic impact of such anti-Muslim attacks in Ramadan, imagine celebrating Hanukah, Christmas, Diwali or Easter in a political and social climate strewn with such hatred. To be sure, rising Islamophobia isn’t confined to the Islamic holy month. Rather, it is part of a broader phenomenon threatening religious freedom every day in our country. In fact, according to the Council on American Islamic , acts and threats of perceived anti-Muslim violence increased by 44 per cent in 2016.

    Significantly, contemporary manifestations of Islamophobia also include unlawful discrimination in a variety of other contexts. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, for instance, approximately 40 per cent of its investigations into violations of federal religious land use law – that protects houses of worship and religious institutions from discrimination by zoning officials – involve Muslim Americans.

    Additionally, data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal government agency tasked with enforcing civil rights laws in the workplace, reveal that Muslim Americans account for 40 percent of all religious employment discrimination claims – a marked increase from 25 percent in 2009. And, according to the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, more than 40 percent of Muslim American parents report that their children have experienced bias-based bullying in school.


    In other words, while Muslim Americans comprise just one to two percent of the entire U.S. population, the minority faith community is confronting grossly disproportionate levels of religious discrimination at work, in schools and the public square. But, now that you know this, what are you going to do in response?

    In fact, amid growing Islamophobia, Americans have only one winning choice: stand united with your Muslim neighbors, classmates and co-workers against the forces of hatred and division that threatens who we are as a nation.

    And, so, while Ramadan may be drawing to a close, our shared struggle to protect religious freedom, the rule of law and our national values is only just beginning.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b0326c0a8d0926

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    Ex-North Chicago cop sues, says he was harassed, then fired, for being Muslim

    By Duaa Eldeib – march 24, 2017

    A former suburban police officer has filed a federal lawsuit alleging he was fired after he complained that he was constantly harassed for practicing his Muslim faith.

    Ramtin Sabet, who was fired last month, said he was repeatedly called a terrorist by his co-workers at the North Chicago Police Department, told he was an "ISIS leader working as a police officer" and asked if he rode a goat to work, according to the lawsuit.

    Sabet, an Iranian immigrant, is suing the city of North Chicago and its former and current police chiefs. He alleges that he complained both formally and informally to his supervisors but that they did nothing to deter or investigate his claims. Sabet joined the department in 2007 and later filed two separate complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging discrimination at work.

    North Chicago officials denied that harassment or discrimination against Sabet occurred.

    In a statement issued Friday, Police Chief Richard Wilson said the city embraces diversity.

    "Officer Sabet was terminated for violations of police department rules and regulations," Wilson said in the statement. "He has challenged that determination. The city plans to vigorously defend its decision."

    Sabet contends in the lawsuit that he was fired for complaining to the EEOC about what he called "severe and pervasive" discrimination and harassment that went on for years and included mocking of his religion, culture and food.

    He said that North Chicago fostered a hostile work environment and treated him "less favorably" than co-workers and that he was denied training opportunities in a "deliberate effort" to keep him from being promoted because of his religion and ethnicity.

    North Chicago officials responded in court records by saying that Sabet's performance kept him from becoming a field training officer and attending supervisor school.

    "It was like I was being hazed all the time," Sabet said when speaking to reporters on Friday.

    He said the officers, whom he considered his "brothers in blue," told him he held his gun like a "terrorist Muslim." He said they made derogatory comments about him in public and while dealing with suspects.

    "I'm placing handcuffs on somebody, and they keep making fun of (me) all the way from the crime scene to the station as a result of my own officers making harassing comments towards me," Sabet said.

    Sabet, who has worked as a police officer for 15 years, pulled a colleague out of a fire and assisted others when they were injured or shot on the job, he said in a statement released by the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is representing him.

    "We trust our police departments to keep us safe," CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said. "We trust that they have moral fortitude that they should practice within their own departments, as well as with the citizens that they serve."

    Sabet filed his initial complaint with the EEOC in 2012, but he claimed his supervisors did not take the complaint seriously. Sabet alleged in the lawsuit that the police chief at the time, James Jackson, was asleep during the interview about the EEOC complaint.

    Jackson could not immediately be reached for comment.

    The harassment went on for years
    , Sabet claims. During a 2014 incident at a shooting range with fellow officers, Sabet alleged, officers told him that he was "so good at shooting" because he was teaching at al-Qaida camp in Iran.

    Several of the religious slurs were made in the presence of his shift commander, according to the lawsuit. On two separate occasions in 2015 and 2016, the lawsuit alleged, an officer made remarks related to Muslims hating Jews, which Sabet said he denied.

    Then, in February 2016, Sabet was called to a meeting with his supervisors and a city attorney. According to the lawsuit, Sabet thought they were going to address his complaints, but instead he was accused of making discriminatory comments against Jews, he said. When he denied ever making those remarks, he was told he would face "discipline and possible termination" for being "dishonest," the lawsuit said. North Chicago officials confirmed the meeting in court records but denied Sabet's allegations.

    Sabet filed another EEOC complaint in 2016 and was granted a right to sue, according to the lawsuit. He was placed on administrative leave in early November 2016, which is when he filed the lawsuit, court records show.

    Court records show Sabet, two other officers and the city of North Chicago were named in a 2013 lawsuit that alleged excessive force and malicious prosecution. The case was settled.

    Sabet's attorney, who said a "cultural intolerance" exists at the North Chicago police department, amended the lawsuit on Thursday to reflect what he called Sabet's wrongful termination last month.

    "We will no longer just sit back and tolerate it and wait for it to go away,"
    attorney Phillip Robertson said. "We're going to take action on it because this is not the America that we know."

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...324-story.html

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    Former US Soldier Who Fought In Iraq Drove Truck Through Gates Of Florida Mosque

    29th June 2017


    A former US soldier who fought in Iraq drove a truck through the locked gate of a Florida mosque and crashed into parked cars just before iftar.

    Shaun Urwiler
    , 42, broke through the gates of the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Mosque and hit cars while hundreds of worshippers looked from within, according to WFLA.

    It was later revealed that Urwiler is an ex-soldier who served in Iraq.

    He made national headlines in 2003 when his girlfriend at the time, who was concerned he had died in Iraq, discovered he was alive from a newspaper photograph.

    The perpetrator's brother Neal said the former infantryman had hit "rock bottom" after his experiences as a soldier, and allegedly suffered from "post-traumatic stress disorder".

    He also claimed that his brother had called him just before the mosque attack, telling him he had a dream about Fallujah.

    Neal told the press: "I apologise on behalf of my family if anyone was scared. This is not something a sane person would do. He's not that person and he's going to get help."

    Urwiler told the police he just wanted to "throw a few donuts and wreak a little havoc".

    Nobody was injured as a result of the attack.

    Urwiller drove away from the crime scene immediately after the attack.

    He has been charged with criminal mischief and property damage. [not domestic terrorism because he's one of them]


    Witness and member of the Council for American-Islamic Relation, Aida Mackic said: "We hope that people come inside, ask questions, get to know your Muslim neighbours."

    Gamal Farag, who chased Urwiler after the attack, said: "Like he's mean. He is [acting] like 'I am going to do it.'

    "What you do this for? What make you do this? I don't understand. What the reason?

    "In my opinion, God will take care of him."
    http://5pillarsuk.com/2017/06/29/for...lorida-mosque/


    comments:

    Apparently killing innocent Muslims in Iraq wasn't enough for this terrorist, or maybe their murder and torture haunts him now as a punishment from God.

  18. #158
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    Many Muslims and mosques victims of attacks in the West






    PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017

    In her letter (“Why Muslims must speak out against attacks”, July 11) Marian Schneps says, “Muslims bear the brunt of terror in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East, not in France, Britain or America”, but conveniently leaves out important facts.


    The terror visited upon Muslims in the Middle East is a result of the mismanaged and illegal invasion of Iraq, jointly led by Britain and America
    , a war that spawned Islamic State (IS). Also, all three countries cited above have for decades sold weapons to dictators in the Middle East, including Bashar al-Assad, who will probably have a stronger grip on power with the impending collapse of IS.

    What citizens in the West (including Muslims citizens there) are currently dealing with are sparks from the bonfire the West is no doubt responsible for igniting. Meanwhile, in France, Britain and America ,where Ms Schneps claims Muslim citizens “do not bear the brunt of terror”, Muslims have to live with a different kind of terrifying fear.

    The Muslim headscarf acts as a lightning rod for attacking Muslim women, and well over 1,000 mosques across the West have experienced at least one incident of vandalism.
    These have included – Molotov cocktails and small explosive devices being thrown within the mosque’s compound; arson attacks resulting in mosques being burned to the ground; and armed demonstrators picketing mosques as well as threatening letters and phone calls. There have also been threats of violence against Muslims in the West, who are loyal citizens of the countries where they live. These attacks have happened – according to statistics compiled by Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) and other civil rights groups – due to unabated one-sided rhetoric exacerbating Islamophobia.

    Your correspondent points out there is a “distinct trend of terror committed in the name of Islam in countries that are majority Christian”. However, she overlooks how the key proponents in the invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and in the war on terror are the US, Britain and France. They are also the primary supply source of weapons for the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. The US, Britain and France are predominantly Christian countries.

    Therefore, it would be dishonest to claim this is a war between Islam and Christianity. Instead, it is very much about dirty politics and power, with religion used as a front.


    http://www.scmp.com/comment/letters/...s-attacks-west

  19. #159
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    Default Hate crime targets Troutdale homeowner

    Hate crime targets Troutdale homeowner

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017



    Man returns home from vacation to find hateful graffiti scrawled in every room of his house.

    The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office is investigating a bias crime reported Tuesday, March 28, in Troutdale.

    Hasel Afshar, 33, who was born in Iran but has lived in America since 2010, returned from a three-day vacation in Canada to find his two-story home on Southeast 26th Court ransacked, the walls coated in racist epithets. The graffiti calls Afshar a "terrorist" and orders the "Muslim" to "get out."

    Afshar isn't Muslim. He's Baha'i.

    "I'm not Muslim," he explains. "I just grow a beard."

    The vandals left a note on Afshar's coffee table, weighed down with seven .45 caliber bullets arranged in the shape of a cross.

    '"If I see you here next month, I will shoot you and burn your house,'" the note reads, according to Afshar.

    He doesn't know how long it will take to clean up his home. Walls are covered in red paint, couch cushions deliberately torn and his belongings scattered.




    In a week or two, once he finishes cleaning up, Afshar says he will sell his home and leave the United States. He has friends in Australia and Canada who he says never experience discrimination like this.

    He doesn't have a plan, but he hopes living in an apartment might be safer. He doesn't care if he loses money selling the property he has owned since 2006.

    "I'm not going to be a hero and stay here and fight about it." Afshar says. "I'm not going to sit here and wait for someone to shoot me."

    This isn't the immigrant's first experience with prejudice.

    In Iran, a Muslim-majority country, Afshar says police entered his family home, stole their books and arbitrarily arrested members of the Baha'i faith community.

    Later, after his arrival in the United States, Afshar says he was punched in the face while living in California, in what he describes as a racially motivated incident.

    He goes on to describe conflicts with a former supervisor at the Portland-based company where Afshar works as a machine operator, cutting out mailers and business cards.

    More recently, Afshar says he was parking outside a Plaid Pantry when a man in a baseball cap pulled up in a white construction van.

    "Get the (expletive) out of America! We don't want you here," the man shouted Tuesday morning, March 7. Afshar now wonders if the man followed him home.

    Other losses are more personal.



    The person, or people, involved in the home invasion broke open a safe in Afshar's closet, stealing a few Iranian coins he intended to give to his fiancée. The coins aren't worth much here, but it's traditional for Iranian men to give their brides-to-be metal currency. Afshar said his mother will mail him some replacements.





    When he first discovered the damage to his home, Afshar's heart was beating so quickly an emergency medical technician asked if he needed to go to the hospital.

    He credits his neighbors for helping him search the home for intruders before first responders arrived, and he describes police as being helpful and nice.

    "I can sit here and cry and nothing (is) going to be fixed," he says. "I have to be strong and just repair my house again."



    Lt. Chad Gaidos says a full investigation has been launched.

    "He is of Middle Eastern descent and that's kind of the tie-in here, that's why we're doing it or why we're concerned about it," he said in a phone interview.

    Another neighbor, who arrived in a pickup, described the situation as "unacceptable."

    "That's called pre-judging people," says Glenn Jones, who has lived on the street for decades. "He's got a right to be here."







    Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the MCSO Tip Line at 503-988-0560.

    A GoFundMe account has been created for Hasel Afshar. Donate here.

  20. #160
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    Terrorist Attack: Minnesota mosque bombed during morning prayers

    FBI launches investigation after bomb attack at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center damaged imam's office.

    8.7.2017

    A mosque in the US state of Minnesota was bombed early on Saturday, while worshippers gathered inside for morning prayers.

    No one was injured in the attack at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, but police say the imam's office had been damaged.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into the attack, which took place at around 5am local time (09:00 GMT).

    Richard Thorton, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis Division, said that the investigation will determine whether the incident was a hate crime and who may have been behind it.

    Thorton added that the explosion was caused by an "improvised explosive device", and that investigators had recovered components of the device to figure out how it was put together.

    'Unimaginable' attack

    Worshippers managed to extinguish the blaze before firefighters arrived, according to a statement from the Muslim American Society of Minnesota.

    The group's director, Asad Zaman, told reporters that "a witness saw something being thrown at the imam's office window from a van or truck before the blast".

    Mohamed Omar, the mosque's executive director, added that the vehicle immediately sped away.

    The predominantly Somali mosque, like many other mosques around the country, has received threatening calls and emails, Omar told local media.

    "It was 5am. The whole neighbourhood was calm. People were supposed to be sleeping, that how peaceful this should be," he said.

    "I was shocked to learn this happened".

    Yasir Abdalrahman, a worshipper at the mosque, said the explosion was "unimaginable".

    "We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here: freedom to worship," Abdalrahman said.

    "And that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this."

    Anti-Muslim crimes

    The Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center serves as a religious space and community organising platform for Muslim activists and leaders in the area, according to the Muslim American Society of Minnesota.

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urged Islamic centres and mosques across the country to step up security.

    The local chapter's civil rights director, Amir Malik, said that "if a bias motive is proven, this attack would represent another in a long list of hate incidents targeting Islamic institutions nationwide in recent months".

    CAIR and the mosque are offering a $10,000-reward each for information that leads to an arrest or conviction.

    The attack comes amid a dramatic rise in the number of anti-Islam bias incidents in the United States, according to CAIR.

    The group found that there were 2,213 such incidents last year, a 57 percent increase from 2015.

    A recent report also said hate crimes spiked in 2016, which was the worst year on record for anti-Muslim incidents since the group began its documentation system in 2013.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center also found that the number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the US has nearly tripled since Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign in 2015.

    It reported that the number of organisations opposing Muslims "leaped" from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year.

    In June, partial enforcement of Trump's Muslim ban came into force.

    New visa applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen and all refugees must prove a relationship to a "close" relative already in the US in order to be eligible for a US visa.



    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/0...212937086.html


 

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