Roy 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.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE
American Muslim leaders on Monday sent an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump, calling on him to “reconsider and reject” some of the individuals he recently named to his administration who have “a well documented history of outright bigotry directed at Muslims or advocating that Muslims should not have the same rights as their fellow Americans.”
The letter, which also heralded the long history of Muslim contributions to American society, did not identify any of Trump’s advisers or cabinet appointees by name. But some of its 300-plus signatories, who ranged from imams and university chaplains to the presidents of Islamic charities and advocacy groups, have previously expressed concern about Trump’s selection of retired Marine Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as a national security adviser, Stephen Bannon as senior counselor, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for Attorney General, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) for CIA Director, and Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development Secretary — all of whom have publicly criticized Islam or supported policy ideas like a ban on Muslim immigrants or refugees.
[Trump’s security picks deepen Muslim worries about an anti-Islamic White House]
The letter read, in part: “[We] are deeply troubled by reports that your team is actively considering proposals that would target Muslims based on religion and violate their Constitutional rights. Advisors and members of your transition team have proposed a registry of Muslim immigrants and visitors to this country. Shockingly, an advisor cited the internment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II – one of the most shameful moments in our nation’s history – as precedent for targeting Muslims.”
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST
Juan Rivera was inside the Pulse nightclub Saturday night, when a 29-year-old Muslim American committed the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Rivera has been missing ever since.
Less than a day later, his still hopeful brother, Baron Serrano, took to Facebook to tell the world that he knows the deranged shooter did not represent any religion. “I want to let people know that not everyone’s the same,” he said in the video stream. “Today I met real Islam and all they do is love.”
The man holding the iPhone camera wanted the world to know the same thing. Hassan Shibly, the bearded and skull-capped executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), had rushed to Orlando on Sunday morning from his home in Tampa after learning of the shooting. He spent much of the day meeting with family members and community officials to condemn the killing of 50 and injuring of at least 53 at the LGBT nightclub. Offering hugs and prayers, he worked his way through the crowd of grieving family members awaiting word on their loved ones fates at a local hotel.
FULL ARTICLE FROM TIME MAGAZINE
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a religious discrimination complaint on Tuesday, in an ongoing debate over prayer breaks between a Wisconsin manufacturing company and Muslim workers.
Ariens Co., which manufactures snow blowers and lawnmowers at a plant outside Green Bay, Wis., fired seven of its Muslim employees in January, and another 14 resigned, after the company told Muslim workers they should stop taking an extra break for prayer, Laura Putre reported for Industry Week.
The prayer break dispute has reached its fifth month without resolution and highlights the challenges of balancing religious accommodation with work schedules, especially in a multicultural setting.
The company had hired the workers, Somali immigrants from Green Bay, several months earlier and accommodated them with both prayer rooms and a bus service to help with the 40-minute commute. A dispute arose in January after the non-Muslim workers complained the Somali workers were taking extra breaks for prayer time, sometimes without communicating with supervisors. The company told workers to stick to two 10-minute breaks, and 53 workers walked off the job in protest.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
‘It’s really important for us to reiterate the double standard that expects Muslims to do something more or different because a criminal has a Muslim identity.’Zahra Billoo
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Condemnations and prayer vigils have become an almost immediate response by Muslim leaders in the wake of attacks perpetrated in the name of Islam. And the San Bernardino shootings were no exception.
A few hours after the two shooters were identified as Muslims on Wednesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of greater Los Angeles leapt into action. The group condemned the attack and put forward the brother-in-law of shooting suspect Syed Farook. He mourned the 14 lives lost and expressed sorrow for the now 21 people who were wounded.
The next day, the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, the largest in San Bernardino County, held a vigil. The primary purpose of the event was to show support for the victims’ families, said Dr. Ahsan Khan a few hours before the event.
“This is also an opportunity for us to show that the majority of Muslims in the world are peace-loving, and what we believe is antithetical to what we witnessed,” Khan said.
But some Muslims — particularly in Northern California — have been rethinking this strategy, said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Bay Area office of CAIR.
“I don’t anticipate any vigils being driven or led by the Muslim community in Northern California,” Billoo said.
Instead, CAIR is encouraging community members to join interfaith vigils. The organization has staked out the position that its community members experience terrorist attacks — regardless of whether they’re perpetrated in the name of Islam — as Americans, not as Muslims.
FULL ARTICLE FROM KQED NEWS