Delta fined $50,000 for discriminating against Muslim passengers

  • the flight attendant said she saw Mr.X texting on his cell phone using the word “Allah” several times
  • The captain refused to let the two passengers re-board the plane

1942741-1818396037WASHINGTON: Delta Air Lines was Friday fined $50,000 by the US Department of Transportation to settle allegations it discriminated against three Muslim passengers who were ordered off their planes.

In its consent order, the department said it found Delta “engaged in discriminatory conduct” and violated anti-discrimination laws when it removed the three passengers.
In one incident on July 26, 2016, a Muslim couple were removed from Delta Flight 229 at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris after a passenger told a flight attendant their behavior made her “very uncomfortable and nervous.”

“Mrs X” was wearing a head scarf and the passenger said “Mr X” had inserted something into his watch.

The flight attendant said she saw Mr.X texting on his cell phone using the word “Allah” several times.

The captain then spoke with Delta’s corporate security, who said Mr.and Mrs.X were US citizens returning home and there were “no red flags.”

However the captain refused to let them re-board the plane.

The Department of Transportation said the captain had failed to follow Delta’s security protocol and it appeared that “but for Mr.and Mrs.X’s perceived religion, Delta would not have removed or denied them reboarding” of their flight.

FULL ARTICLE FROM ARAB NEWS

New Jersey (US) Muslims on presidential candidate Bloomberg: ‘He doesn’t know the hurt he caused’

AP_111118040935-1581904744Even before he arrived at his job at Fort Dix one recent morning, Army Sgt. Syed Farhaj Hassan had already been bombarded by a Michael Bloomberg ad about gun control on television, and a radio piece about Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor of New York City.

Bloomberg seems to be everywhere, as he invests heavily in advertising during his campaign for president. But for Hassan and other Muslim Americans, the former New York mayor’s political resurgence is a painful reminder of a sweeping, yearslong surveillance program that Bloomberg supported and defended as mayor.

“Do I think Michael Bloomberg should apologize for causing terror for a group of people up and down the Northeast? Yes, I do,” said Hassan, a resident of Helmetta, in Middlesex County, and the lead plaintiff in a settled lawsuit against the New York City police over the secret surveillance program.

“His actions are still causing issues between Muslim communities and law enforcement,” Hassan said in an interview with NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey. “The chilling effect exists, and it exists because of Michael Bloomberg’s actions to go ahead and surveil peaceful Muslims in New Jersey and New York.”

During Bloomberg’s administration, the New York Police Department secretly mapped ethnic communities, placed informants at mosques and infiltrated schools, businesses and restaurants in New York and New Jersey in the name of counterterrorism. While Bloomberg has apologized for controversial stop-and-frisk policies targeting black and Hispanic New Yorkers, he has not done the same for the Muslim surveillance program that critics say was also rooted in profiling a minority group.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NORTHJERSEY.COM

What U.S. Religious Liberty Means — Especially When It Comes To Islam

RTX3Z4ML-e1572281662504NPR’s Audie Cornish speaks with Asma Uddin about the state of religious liberty in the United States. Uddin is author of When Islam Is Not a Religion: Inside America’s Fight for Religious Freedom.

 

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Trump administration has made religious liberty a central theme of this presidency. For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now has a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division. The president has championed judges who have ruled in favor of people seeking religious exemptions to laws. And just last month, the White House strengthened protections for kids who want to pray at school. Asma Uddin is part – Asma Uddin is part of the Inclusive America Project at the Aspen Institute. She is also the author of a book on religious liberty called “When Islam Is Not A Religion.” She told me that President Trump’s focus marks a change from previous administrations.

ASMA UDDIN: There has been just a more pronounced public affirmation of the positive role of religion in American society, the need to protect it. Often, we hear from various government officials – whether it be Mike Pompeo or President Trump or U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr or even Jeff Sessions when he announced a religious liberty task force of the Department of Justice – is this constant refrain about religion is under threat by secularization, threatening forces on the left. So the protection of religion and the protection of our religious freedom – that has become a constant refrain.

CORNISH: What communities have benefited from the administration’s attention to the issue? Are there religious communities that have, essentially, been left out?

UDDIN: Yeah. So, you know, then-candidate Ted Cruz said that it was – he called it the religious liberty election, and he said that it was ultimately about, like, the person who would be able to defend religious liberty the best. And President Trump and Ben Carson and Rick Santorum all got on that bandwagon and said absolutely, this is about religious liberty, and we’re going to protect religious liberty if we’re elected president. But at the same time as they were making these statements, they were also competing with each other to determine who could be the most discriminatory against Muslims, whether it be President Trump’s suggestions about creating a Muslim registry or about banning Muslims from the U.S. – which, as we know, he has moved forward with that as well – or it be Ted Cruz’s suggestion that we surveil Muslim neighborhoods in the aftermath – he brought that up in the aftermath of a terrorist incident – or Rick Santorum saying that Islam absolutely was different from Christianity. He said that it’s not as protected under the First Amendment as Christianity is. And so there was, like, this obvious hypocrisy.

FULL ARTICLE (AND AUDIO CLIP) FROM NPR

Trump impeachment: Here’s what Arab and Muslim Americans say about it

By 
Umar A Farooq, , Ali Harb

impeach_afpCandidate Donald Trump vowed to ban Muslims from coming into the United States. President Trump imposed a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries within a week of taking the oath of office.

He has also implemented several policies that caused suffering and outrage across Arab and Muslim communities in the United States. Over the past three years, the US president has drastically reduced the number of refugees admitted into the country, recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and signed an executive order that may threaten the right to Palestinian activism on American college campuses.

Still, Arab- and Muslim-American activists do not seem overly enthused about the impeachment proceedings in Congress against the 45th president of the United States.

With Trump’s Republican Party standing firmly behind him, the chances of removing the president from office are close to zero.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives succeeded in impeaching Trump on Wednesday, making him the third president to ever be impeached. But impeachment, which the US Constitution grants solely to the House, is only half the process. Cutting a president’s term short requires a conviction – by two-thirds of the votes – after a trial in the Senate.

As things stand, more than half of the senators in the Republican-controlled chamber vehemently reject the charges against Trump.

In fact, it’s not even clear if Senate Republicans will allow witnesses to testify against the president.

House Democrats started the impeachment inquiry against Trump in September, following reports that he pressured Ukraine to investigate the son of his prospective 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The administration had held up the aid to Ukraine, Democrats say, to get the Eastern European country’s leaders to deliver a political favour to Trump.

FULL ARTICLE FROM MIDDLE EAST EYE

US growth of Islam creates need for religious scholars

RTX3Z4ML-e1572281662504DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — “Brothers and sisters,” the seminary instructor tells his class, don’t believe in God because of your parents’ beliefs but because “you know why God exists.”

The challenge spurs a discussion about beliefs. But more than Imam Mohammad Qazwini’s interesting delivery, deep understanding of Islam and his formal training at a seminary in the holy city of Qom, Iran, have drawn them to this suburban Detroit classroom just off the large prayer room of a mosque.

He speaks their language — literally.

An increasing number of U.S. Muslims want guidance from religious instructors who they can understand linguistically and culturally. The Quran, Islam’s holy book, is written in classical Arabic, but many of the students aren’t well-versed in the language. Qazwini navigates the intricacies of Arabic effortlessly — in the everyday English they use, opening a door for many of the students and meeting an increasing need.

Traditional imams and scholars who once came from the Middle East or were educated in schools there are having more difficulty entering the United States. The Trump administration imposed a travel ban in January 2017 on people from several Muslim majority countries, and the government has made it harder to enter the U.S. entirely, with more rigorous interviews and background checks.

“In many other states there are mosques with no … functional imam, who can assume the responsibilities of the religious leader or even speak,” said Islamic Institute of America leader Imam Hassan Qazwini, who started the seminary with his son. “I thought maybe a long-term solution for facing this shortage is to have our own Shiite Islamic seminary in the U.S., instead of waiting for imams to come.”

Al-Hujjah is the newest of several seminaries focused on the Shiite branch of Islam in the United States and Canada working to address a shortage of leaders.

The seminary started in fall 2017 with about 35 registered students. Now it has nearly 400, with some attending in-person, others watching live and still more watching recorded videos online. In addition to the Qazwinis, there are four other instructors.

Although there are students in 25 countries the emphasis is on North America because of the desire to deepen the bench of U.S.-trained imams, scholars and speakers, according to the elder Qazwini, a native of Iraq.

In a class on a recent evening, the younger Qazwini led an intense session on faith, proposing case studies, playing devil’s advocate and prompting a philosophical back-and-forth with his students. His execution is informal but authoritative. The students understand him.

“I need to make sure he speaks the language, he’s knowledgeable, he’s respectful, he’s truly caring and he’s trying to adapt to the country we live in,” said Alia Bazzi, 32, a graphic designer and seminary student. “Why would my imam speak Arabic if we live in America and the main language we speak is English? … I want to know he’s up to date, he knows what’s going on.”

About an hour’s drive south, in Toledo, Ohio, the Ahlul Bayt Center mosque has been running for about four years without a full-time imam. Imam Mohammad Qazwini and other clerics travel there for services and special events.

Dr. Ali Nawras, a board member of the Toledo mosque, said the arrangement works for day-to-day needs because of its proximity to the Detroit area — a longtime hub for Islam in America. But the center seeks a permanent imam to meet its broader, long-term objectives: Having a strong understanding of challenges within their own community, particularly among youth, and forging stronger bonds between the Muslim and non-Muslim populations.

“On one hand, you can find an imam who is very knowledgeable, very strong background in theology, but that person might not speak English or might have lived most of his life outside the country,” Nawras said. “On the other hand, you might find someone who is born here and educated here, but they don’t have a good or strong theology background.”

“To have a combination of both, that is where the challenge comes,” he added.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGION NEWS 

What ‘Hala’ gets right and wrong about growing up Muslim in America

c5709340-98b6-4391-ac0c-d04c21af442e-Hala_Unit_Photo_06Disclaimer: I don’t speak for all Muslim-Americans, but I can say that at least a good amount of us are tired of seeing the stereotypical Muslim girl portrayed over and over again.

And that’s exactly what “Hala” does.

Minhal Baig’s new film (in theaters Friday in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Columbus, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky; streaming Dec. 6 on Apple TV+) focuses on a first-generation, 17-year-old Pakistani-American girl of the same name (played by Geraldine Viswanathan) whose conservative parents expect her to marry a nice Muslim boy. Her parents had an arranged marriage, don’t want her hanging out with boys because reputation, her mom practically forces her to pray, but Hala is a “rebel.” She falls for the white boy in her class, goes out at all hours of the night with him and eats non-halal meat (halal meat is prepared according to Islamic law, kind of like kosher).

Surprise.

FULL ARTICLE FROM USA TODAY 

In US colleges, Muslim students have most diverse set of friends

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Most college students have at least one friend from a different religion, but among all racial groups, Muslim students reported the highest percentage of affiliation with five or more friends of different religious or secular identities.

“Muslims (79 percent), Jews (68 percent), Buddhists (57 percent), and atheists (55 percent) are the most inclined to have a considerable number of religiously diverse friends as they are beginning their first term on campus,” according to the study, conducted by the Interfaith Youth Core. Overall, only 47 percent of first-term students report having five or more interworldview friends.

The racial groups with the three lowest percentage of students with a religiously diverse set of friends are: Mormons (28.3 percent), Mainline Protestants (42.9 percent) and Evangelical Christians (43.1 percent).

“In sum, most students come to their campuses with some experience in bridging worldview divides through the friendships they cultivate.”

If they started college with a religiously diverse set of friends, they’re most likely to end their first year with more of such friendships too, according to the survey.

InterfaithYouthCore@ifyc

According to the most recent @IDEALSresearch report, 94% of students who started college with one to four interworldview friendships either maintained friendships at that level or made more. Learn more by downloading the full report today: http://bit.ly/2MnO2OX

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