President Obama to Muslim Americans: “You’re a Valued Part of the American Family”

P072116PS-0763

President Barack Obama greets guests during the Eid al-Fitr reception in the East Room of the White House, July 21, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

For Muslims all over the world, Eid al-Fitr marks the end of a holy month of fasting and prayer. As President Obama said in his remarks:

“This is a time of spiritual renewal — a time to reaffirm your duty to serve one another, especially the least fortunate among us. And it’s a time to reflect on the values that guide you in your faith — gratitude, compassion and generosity. And it’s a reminder that those values of Islam — which comes from the word salaam, meaning peace — are universal. They bind us all, regardless of our race or religion or creed, in a common purpose, and that is in our shared commitment to the dignity of every human being.”

The President took the opportunity to reflect on the positive role that Muslim Americans have played in American life:

 

“Today is also another reminder that Muslims have always been a part of America. In colonial times, many of the slaves brought over from Africa were Muslim. We insisted on freedom of religion, in Thomas Jefferson’s words, for, “the Jew and Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan.” For more than two centuries, Muslim Americans of all backgrounds — Arab and Asian, African and Latino, black and white — have helped build America as farmers and merchants, factory workers, architects, teachers and community leaders…

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE WEB SITE

Muslim-American delegates to DNC celebrated at send-off

Delegates_1

By Meg Bernhard GLOBE CORRESPONDENT JULY 22, 2016

WORCESTER— More than two dozen Muslims and local politicians gathered Thursday evening to celebrate the state’s three Muslim delegates to the Democratic National Convention and encourage others in their faith to participate in the political process.

The Second Congressional District is sending two Muslim-American delegates to next week’s convention in Philadelphia: Noman Khanani, 24, of Worcester and Homaira Naseem, 59, of Boylston — both of whom are Bernie Sanders delegates.

The Fifth Congressional District is sending one delegate, Nazda Alam, of Weston.

“For us it really is a milestone, for our capacity,” said Amjad Bhatti, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, which hosted the event.

Bhatti emphasized that the society does not endorse any political positions or parties, but that it encourages Muslims to get involved in politics, a field within which he thinks they are under-represented.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE BOSTON GLOBE 

Muslim American Voters Could Swing Battleground States

64EEA877-0650-4BE2-91A4-7708363CB94C_w640_r1_s_cx0_cy10_cw0

Aline Barros
July 23, 2016 5:05 PM

At an estimated 3.3 million, Muslim Americans represent a small portion of the American population. But the community could play an important role in so-called swing states during the upcoming presidential elections.

When the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based rights organization, launched its 2016 Muslims Vote campaign, the goal was to lead 1 million Muslim constituents to the voting booths.

Robert McCaw, director of government affairs at CAIR, said campaign organizers across the nation would work within communities to make sure Islamic community centers have the tools they need to register voters.

According to the Pew Research Center, Muslims represent just 1 to 2 percent of the country’s population, but they tend to live in strategic places — swing states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

FULL ARTICLE FROM VOA NEWS 

Christian woman gives £1000 to Muslim family after attack

download-4-10

A Christian woman has donated £1000 to a Muslim family in the UK after learning that their shop was attacked.

Mohammed Riaz, 58, was attacked in Bradford in July 2016 by three people inside his butcher’s shop, Meat Hut. The three attackers – one of whom was later charged with robbery – damaged Riaz’s shop and left him with injuries on the eve of Eid celebrations.Following the attack however, one woman named ‘Jane’ posted a letter to the family enclosed with a cheque for £1,000.

In the letter the woman said: “Dear Mr Riaz, I was so sorry to read in The Telegraph & Argus of the attack on your shop. I am a Christian, and Jesus Christ taught that when we see someone in trouble we should not walk by without helping.

Kanees Riaz, Mohammed’s wife, says she was astonished by the letter, reports indy100:

“We were astonished – we were in tears because of this woman’s kindness – she doesn’t even live in the area. This shows that in the end race and religion doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all.”

Speaking of the trauma, Nafeesa Riaz, Mohammed’s daughter said, “We’re all still traumatised but the community and people from all over have shown huge support which has helped us immensely. We had people from all ages and ethnicities. We can never thank everyone enough for what they have done.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM PAKISTAN TODAY

Donald Trump’s leading Muslim supporter may be an army of one

4dd5bc435dcc1a627648d45a5ebdf1aaBy the time Sajid Tarar took the stage to deliver the closing benediction at the Republican National Convention Tuesday night, many delegates and members of the press had already begun filing out of Cleveland’s Quicken Loans arena.

Day two of the RNC had been an eventful one, with Donald Trump’s official nomination for the White House followed by speeches from his children and past political rivals like Ben Carson and Chris Christie.

But the arrival of perhaps the most unlikely speaker on the RNC dais, a 56-year-old Pakistani immigrant and Muslim Trump supporter, did not go unnoticed. According toreporters inside the venue, a single delegate was heard shouting “no Islam” as Tarar, clad in a silvery bow tie, addressed the crowd.

“Let’s pray,” Tarar said when he reached the podium. “Pray for a strong America, for a safe America. And let’s ask God to make us strong to fight terrorism all over the world.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM YAHOO NEWS 

Christians, Muslims bridge gaps on faith one year after violent rampage

071716a01heroesrun0127378222830_t1070_h034e0372a582d956af5cadeead7117ace21036e5The Interfaith Community of Chattanooga hosted a 50-minute service at the UTC Student Center this afternoon, highlighted by a speech from Mark Siljander.

Siljander, a former U.S. representative and United Nations ambassador, shared his story of coming to learn about the Muslim faith. He said he began his political career as an outspoken proponent of Christianity while at the same time loathing the teachings of Islam.

However, Siljander said, he did not actually know much about the faith until he studied it for himself. He learned that his religion and that of Muslims was not that different, and he hoped to build bridges between the two communities.

He said an earnest attempt to narrow the gap between the two faiths helped solve problems among foreign nations during his political career.
He urged those in attendance to use the July 16 shooting last year to form a closer bond between local Christians and Muslims.

“We want to change the world by changing our own lives first,” he said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE TIMES FREE PRESS 

Preaching hatred of Islam does not help Christians

&NCS_modified=20160709154621&MaxW=640&imageVersion=default&AR-160709236

Last week, a coalition of mostly far-right Christian organisations hosted a conference in Washington that claimed to be defending persecuted minorities in the Middle East. Given the very real threat facing vulnerable ancient religious communities at the hands of barbarous groups such as ISIL, one might be inclined to commend the organisers. However, an examination of the groups involved and the list of invited speakers shows that the conference’s purposes appear to be dangerously provocative.

Among the featured speakers are a handful of notorious Islamophobes and a strange collection of individuals who claim to have been “radical Muslims” of one stripe or another, all of whom say they have now converted to Christianity and have come forward to tell their conversion stories.

One of the listed headliners was Frank Gaffney who heads an organisation that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identifies as an “anti-Muslim hate group”. Mr Gaffney is one of the main propagators of the notion that president Barack Obama “may be a Muslim” and that a Hillary Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, is a secret operative of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Another speaker representing an SPLC-listed hate group is retired general William Boykin, a Bush-era Pentagon official who gained notoriety when it was revealed that he had repeatedly compared the Iraq war to the Crusades, boasting that the US/Christian side was bound to win because “our God is bigger than theirs”. Gen Boykin has also said that “Islam is evil” and should not be protected by the First Amendment.

Among the others scheduled to address the event were a number of evangelical preachers, Donald Trump supporters, and Christian missionaries devoted to converting Muslims.

The organisers invited some converts to share their stories. One of them, Tass Saada, claims to have been a PLO sniper until he saw the light and converted to Christianity. He founded the Hope for Ishmael group to encourage other Muslims to convert. Another speaker, Daniel Shayesteh, is an Iranian American who claims to have been an Islamic extremist at the age of 9. He became a Christian and founded the group Exodus from Darkness.

It was especially troubling that a number of conservative Republican Members of Congress and State Department officials were scheduled.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NATIONAL