Mike Pompeo, Trump’s pick to replace Tillerson, has long worried Muslim advocates

TUITMLZBUEYO3NSHTPOQTLFWSEMike Pompeo, the former Kansas lawmaker and CIA director President Trump unveiled Tuesday as his pick to run the State Department, has long worried Muslims and human rights groups for his sweeping statements about Islam.

There have been rumors for months that Trump would do what he did Tuesday — fire Rex Tillerson and replace him with Pompeo — and Muslim leaders and their allies have expressed concern about Pompeo’s singling out of and suspicious posture toward Muslim Americans. Pompeo has been honored by and has appeared with U.S. advocacy groups that have criticized Islam.

After the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, Pompeo — then a member of Congress — falsely accused American Muslim organizations of not condemning terrorism. Despite a steady stream of such condemnations since the Sept. 11 attacks — including many in the hours after the Boston attacks — Pompeo accused American Muslims of being “potentially complicit.” On the House floor, weeks after the Boston attacks, he said condemnations hadn’t been sufficient. “It casts doubt on the commitment to peace by adherents of the Muslim faith.”



Every Time I Hear a Mass Shooter Wasn’t Muslim, I Feel Relief

171004_POL_Relief-ShooterNotMuslim.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2The first thing I felt Monday morning was grief. The slow trickle of news about another mass shooting can feel like just the next chapter in a long national assault on helpless victims, but it’s important we focus our energy on the victims whose experience in Las Vegas on Sunday night is new. Right now, I’m thinking about them and everyone else who has experienced this horror. My heart is broken.

The second thing I felt Monday was relief. That’s what I always feel when I learn a mass shooter wasn’t Muslim.

I wish, like many other Muslims I know, that my mind didn’t immediately arrive at “Oh God, was it a Muslim terrorist?” That’s a terrible way to think. But I don’t just feel that way because I don’t want my community to be forced to confront false associations. I’ve learned Americans have more pointed, sobering conversations about the root causes of this violence when they’re forced to confront a perpetrator they can’t so easily separate from themselves.

I know what will happen as soon as I hear a Muslim-sounding name connected to a shooting on the news. There’s question of accountability: Why didn’t “moderate Muslims” do more to stop it? What could I have done in New York to stop the Muslim shooter in Florida? Or California? If the shooter was born in America, the question then turns to the parents: Should they ever have been allowed to come here?

That’s how it went down after Omar Mateen was identified as the shooter in the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando in June 2016, until Sunday the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Within hours, reports chased down his immigration status and his connections with foreign terror groups, and a New York Times writer declared it the worst act of terrorism on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001. By the following Monday, then-candidate Donald Trump had also seized on Mateen’s religion and national origin, bragging on Twitter “for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” He added, in an angry, rambling speech, “The only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his family to come here.”


Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban 2.0’ is still the same flawed, un-American mess

gettyimages-578547204_1Trump Muslim ban take two!  Or you could call it a kinder, gentler Muslim ban.  But make no mistake:  It is a Muslim ban, no matter how much the Trump administration tries to wrap it in better legal reasoning, more docile language, and ribbon that screams national security.

Trump and his Muslim ban still have a huge uphill battle waiting for him simply because truth, reality, facts, his own quotes, and a country who yearns to uphold American values, are not on his side.

Let’s break down the difficulties Trump will face starting immediately:

 First and foremost, and incredibly damning, are the reports that intelligence analysts from Trump’s own DHS agency dispute Trump’s notion that these countries that are part of the ban pose a major threat to our national security.  They found scant evidence that citizens from these countries are a danger to us.

In fact, DHS found that additional vetting before entry won’t make us safer because most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists become radicalized after living in the U.S. for a number of years rather than being radicalized when they first arrive.

Second, there is still that pesky fact that, from 9/11 through today, no immigrant or refugee from the countries included in the Muslim ban has ever successfully perpetrated a terror attack on U.S. soil that resulted in any deaths of American citizens.


Inside the anti-Muslim organization that has ties to the White House

ctl-islam-trump-cair-act-muslim-20170217-001Roy White wants to inform as many Americans as possible about the terrorists he sees in their midst.

The lean, 62-year-old Air Force veteran strode into the Texas State Capitol in late January wearing a charcoal-gray pinstripe suit and an American flag tie, with the mission of warning all 181 lawmakers about a Muslim group sponsoring a gathering of Texas Muslims at the Capitol the following day. Although the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) works to promote Muslim civil rights across America, White wanted to convince lawmakers that it is actually working to infiltrate the U.S. government and destroy American society from within.

“They’re jihadists wearing suits,” White said of CAIR and other Muslim organizations. “That’s a tough thing for us to wrap our heads around because we don’t feel threatened.”

White is the San Antonio chapter president of ACT for America, an organization that brands itself as “the nation’s largest grass-roots national security advocacy organization” and attacks what it sees as the creeping threat of sharia, or Islamic law, in the form of Muslim organizations, mosques, refugees and sympathetic politicians.

The group has found allies among a coterie of anti-Muslim organizations, speakers and Christian fundamentalists, as well as with some state lawmakers. Bill Zedler, a Texas Republican state representative, said during a recent forum supported by ACT that he fears political correctness is masking the real problem: “Regardless of whether it’s al-Qaida, or CAIR, or the Islamic State, they just have different methodology for the destruction of Western civilization.”


More than 200 at interfaith forum hear update on Islamic Center blaze (Texas)

newsengin-17440728_dyc-islamic-center-03Investigators offered new details Sunday about the investigation of the blaze that leveled the partially constructed Islamic Center of Lake Travis in Hudson Bend last weekend. The fire harmed no one but has left the area’s Muslim community on edge.

The update on the investigation, which authorities described as an around-the-clock affair, came during an afternoon interfaith forum hosted by a nearby church. The event sought to promote greater understanding and dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Jews.

“We’re truly after the truth at the end of the day, regardless of what that truth is; that’s what we owe to you in the community,” Travis County Fire Marshal Tony Callaway said.

The investigation is ongoing, Callaway frequently noted, limiting what he could tell the crowd of more than 200 people at the forum. The official cause of the blaze remains undetermined.

RELATED: Fire destroys partly built Islamic center near Lake Travis

However, Callaway told the audience that his office has sent nearly a dozen pieces of evidence to the lab for testing, is reviewing security tape footage and is interviewing potential witnesses.


Prominent American Muslim Asssociation Opposes Confirmation of Sen. Sessions as Attorney General

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced its opposition to the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as attorney general of the United States.

“Senator Sessions’ past statements and troubling views on issues impacting American Muslims and other minority communities make him unfit to serve as attorney general,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

Awad said CAIR is also calling on all Americans to urge members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to question Sen. Sessions about his past anti-Muslim statements, current associations with anti-Muslim hate groups and his views on a number of civil rights issues during next week’s confirmation hearing.

TAKE ACTION: See Phone Numbers and Call Script Below

SEE: Attorney General Nomination Hearing

CAIR has already expressed its concerns to members of the committee, and now the Washington-based civil rights organization is urging community members to do the same by contacting all members of that committee to urge that they question Sen. Sessions about the following issues of concern:

1. Question Sen. Sessions on His Support for Trump’s Religious Test to Ban Muslims Traveling to the United States

In December 2015, Sessions voted against and publicly lashed out at a nonbinding amendment seeking to prevent a religious litmus test for people entering into the United States. The amendment had been offered by ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Member Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

During that vote, Session said: “Many people are radicalized after they enter. How do we screen for that possibility, if we cannot even ask about an applicant’s views on religion? Would we forbid questions about politics? Or theology?”


Both Feeling Threatened, American Muslims and Jews Join Hands

06unity-4-master768NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Jolted into action by a wave of hate crimesthat followed the election victory of Donald J. Trump, American Muslims and Jews are banding together in a surprising new alliance.

They are putting aside for now their divisions over Israel to join forces to resist whatever may come next. New groups are forming and interfaith coalitions that already existed say interest is increasing.

Vaseem Firdaus, a Muslim who has lived in the United States for 42 years, spent Friday night at a Shabbat dinner for members of a women’s group called the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, in a home here filled with Jewish art and ritual objects.

Until Donald J. Trump was elected, Ms. Firdaus, who is 56 and a manufacturing manager at Exxon Mobil, felt secure living as a Muslim in America. She has a daughter who is a doctor and a son who is an engineer, and she recently traveled to Tampa with her husband looking to buy a vacation home. But Mr. Trump’s victory has shaken her sense of comfort and security.