Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Poll: U.S. Muslims Seen as Facing More Discrimination

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The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Search for the Night of Power (Laylat Al-Qadr) in the odd-numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadan."

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadith 234

A wife of the Prophet asked him what prayers she should say on Laylat Al-Qadr. The Prophet told her to say: "O God, Thou art forgiving and lovest forgiveness, so forgive me."

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 641


"We have revealed this (Quran) in the Night of Power. And what will make you understand what the Night of Power is! The Night of Power is better than one thousand months. The angels and the Spirit (Gabriel) come down with every decree, by the leave of their Lord. That night is the night of peace, till the break of dawn."

The Holy Quran, Chapter 97 (Al-Qadr)

"We revealed this (Quran) in a blessed night (Laylat Al-Qadr); for We wanted to forewarn mankind. In that night every matter is decided wisely."

The Holy Quran, 44:3-4

NOTE: Laylat al-Qadr ("Night of Power" or "Night of Destiny") marks the anniversary of the night on which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) first began receiving revelations from God through the angel Gabriel. Muslims believe Laylat al-Qadr is one of the last odd-numbered nights of Ramadan. Some Muslims spend the last ten days of Ramadan in a local mosque. This practice is called "I'tikaf."


Pew Forum press release, 9/9/09

Eight years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Americans see Muslims as facing more discrimination inside the U.S. than other major religious groups. Nearly six-in-ten adults say that Muslims are subject to a lot of discrimination, far more than say the same about Jews, evangelical Christians, atheists or Mormons, according to a new report based on a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. In fact, of all the groups asked about, only gays and lesbians are seen as facing more discrimination than Muslims. (Press release)

Loralei Coyle, +1-202-419-4556,, or Robbie Mills, 1-202-419-4564,; both of Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life


Jay Lindsay, Associated Press, 9/9/09

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Pew's findings back up his own group's research. He blamed a "vocal minority" in the U.S. for fanning anti-Muslim bias with increasingly harsh rhetoric since 9/11.

"Unfortunately, people have focused on that tiny, tiny minority of Muslims who have carried out violent acts, and claim to act in the name of Islam," he said. "Ninety-nine point nine, nine percent of all Muslims will live and die without coming near an act of violence." (More)


Amy Sullivan, TIME Magazine, 9/9/09

Eight years after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Muslim Americans — particularly Muslim-American women — continue to face battles in their struggle for acceptance and the right to wear religious garb in public settings. A new poll from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life finds that Americans see Muslims as encountering more discrimination than any other religious group. But while Americans are more likely to be familiar with Islam or personally know a Muslim than they were at the time of the attacks, levels of tolerance are lower today than they were in the months immediately following Sept. 11…

Today, the broad tolerance that existed in the days following 9/11 has largely evaporated. Nearly 40% of Americans still say they think Islam is more likely to encourage violence, according to a new Pew Forum survey, and only a minority hold favorable views of Muslims (the latest poll does not distinguish between Muslims and Muslim Americans).

Muslim Americans are also increasingly battling to adhere to their religious beliefs in the workplace and other public spaces. In Philadelphia, the police department disciplined an officer for wearing a hijab (a headscarf that covers hair and sometimes the neck), and the move was upheld in court. Legislators in Oklahoma and Minnesota have proposed legislation that would prohibit women from wearing a hijab for drivers-license photos. And in Oregon, the state legislature just affirmed a law prohibiting public school teachers from wearing religious garb. The law was originally developed in the 1920s as an anti-Catholic measure aimed at priest collars and nun habits, and it was supported by the Ku Klux Klan.

Now some Muslim advocates worry that they are being targeted the same way. "Attire is always a red flag," says Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council for Islamic-American Relations. "But what we're seeing is the overall trend of a vocal minority in our society trying to block any accommodation to Muslims." (More)


'Light the Night for Peace and Friendship' in memory of victims

On September 11, 2009, the American Muslim Voice Foundation, along with interfaith groups and community organizations, will host a "Light the Night for Peace and Friendship" candle-light vigil and Ramadan fast-breaking meal (iftar) outside the White House in memory of the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks.

What: Interfaith Candle-Light Vigil and Iftar
Why: To spread the Miracle Movement of Peace and Friendship
When: Friday, September 11, 2009
Where: Lafayette Park, SE Quadrant, Washington, D.C.
Time: Gather at 6 p.m. Short program begins at 6:30 p.m. Breaking of the fast at sunset, then prayer followed by the candle-light vigil.
Contact: Samina Sundas, 650-387-1994

A press conference announcing the vigil and iftar will be held 11 a.m. September 10 at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.

Speakers: Rev. Dr. David Ensign, pastor, Clarendon Presbyterian Church, Arlington, Va., and Christian Peace Witness, Medea Benjamin, Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Co-Founder of Code Pink, Rabbi David Shneyer. Bill Galvin, National Committee of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. (His children lost their uncle on Sept. 11-He worked in the World Trade Center.) Samina Sundas, Founding Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice

When: On Thursday, September 10, 2009
Where: New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington DC
Time: 11 a.m.

We will honor the 9/11 victims and their families by sowing the seeds of peace and friendship. Together we can build a safe secure, peaceful and harmonious world.

Please join hands with us as we walk on the path Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. paved for us. Become full partners in "The Miracle Movement of Peace and friendship." We will foster friendships among all Americans and the world by bridging the cultural and religious gap.

To become a part of this movement please click "Light the Night for Peace and friendship" at


American Muslim Voice


Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Our Peace Partners:

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Amnesty International, Western region
Asian Americans for Peace & Justice
Asian Law Alliance
Buddhist Peace Fellowship, West Bay Chapter
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Code Pink
Council of Churches of Santa Clara County
Dalai Lama Foundation
Ecumenical Peace Institute
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Global Exchange
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Los Altos Voices for Peace
Micahs Call
Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice
Muslim Peace Fellowship
Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
National Japanese American Historical Society
National Peace Academy
The Nihonmachi Outreach Committee, San Jose
Olive Branch Interfaith Peace Partnership
Pax Christy of Stanford, CA
Peninsula Peace & Justice Center, Palo Alto, CA
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Priority Africa Network
Raging Grannies Action League
Rahima Foundation
Reach and Teach
Shalom Center
South Bay Department of Peace
The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
The South Alameda County Peace & Justice Coalition
United Muslims of America (UMA)
National V. President Sharon KufeIdt, Veterans for Peace



(NEW YORK, NY 9/9/09) A coalition of Muslim advocates, lawyers and community leaders today called the NYPD decision to add a “Statement of Clarification” (Clarification) to its 2007 report, “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat” a “welcome first step.” They urged the NYPD to publicize the Clarification and engage in deeper dialogue with the group to ensure effective security policy.

The Clarification, which followed ongoing meetings and consultation with the New York based Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC), stated clearly that the NYPD’s 2007 report “should not be read to characterize Muslims as intrinsically dangerous or intrinsically linked to terrorism, and that it cannot be a license for racial, religious, or ethnic profiling.” To read the clarification (pp 11-12) in full, go here.

A joint statement issued today by MACLC and the Brennan Center of Justice at NYU’s School of Law read:

“The Statement of Clarification is a welcome first step in the NYPD’s response to the Muslim community’s concerns about the NYPD Report.

“However, we are troubled that the NYPD did not alert stakeholders or the public to the Clarification. It is not clear whether the NYPD informed prior report recipients including the federal and local law enforcement agencies that rely on the report about the Clarification. Indeed, the lack of publicity surrounding the Department’s release of its Clarification substantially undermines its potential impact.

“Furthermore, the new Clarification section is lost in the full report, which, despite including numerous errors and harmful stereotypes, remains unchanged. As a result, the standing report now sends unsettling, mixed messages: the clarifying statement delinks Islam and radicalization, but the original text implies a strong connection between Muslim beliefs and tendencies toward extremism and violence.

“Issuance of the Clarification provides a perfect opportunity for the NYPD to publicly and clearly articulate the purpose of the report and the NYPD’s theories on how to combat violent extremism in the United States.

“We ask Commissioner Kelly to make it plain to New Yorkers and the world at large that his department does not regard traditional religious practice as the cause of violent acts or terrorist tendencies. We encourage to the Department intensify dialogue with the Muslim communities in New York to ensure that the NYPD’s further study of this issue is based on a real understanding, not on stereotypes.”

A full account of MACLC’s opinion on the NYPD’s Statement of Clarification is available here.

CONTACT: Sarah Sayeed, MACLC, 917-414-8453, E-Mail:; Faiza N. Ali, CAIR-NY, 212-870-2002, 718-724-3041,; Faiza Patel, Brennan Center for Justice, 212-998-6328,

* * * * *

The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition is a New York-based coalition of Muslim advocates, attorneys and community leaders created in 2007, in the wake of the New York City Police Department report, “Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat.” MACLC exists for the purpose of articulating a New York-specific Muslim perspective on homeland security, civil liberties, and counterterrorism decision-making. In the fall of 2008, it issued a counter-report “CounterERRORism Policy: MACLC’s Critique of the NYPD’s Report on Homegrown Radicalism.” The Brennan Center for Justice serves as legal adviser to the Coalition.



A Panel on Customs and Border Patrol, Surveillance, Interrogation, and FBI/Local Law Enforcement

FRIDAY, Sept. 11, 2009
5-7 PM (Program begins at 5:15 p.m. sharp)
Muslim Community Association (MCA) Game Room, 3003 Scott Blvd, Santa Clara


Julia Harumi Mass, Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union
Veena Dubal, Staff Attorney, Civil Rights & National Security, Asian Law Caucus
Summer Hararah, Program Coordinator for Civil Rights & National Security, Asian Law Caucus
Zahra Billoo, CAIR-SFBA, Programs and Outreach Director

(MCA's regular singles' Iftar will be available afterwards. Attorneys with civil rights expertise will be available for free consultations during Iftar.)

On the eight anniversary of Sept. 11th, civil rights advocates will speak on several topics critically important to the community, including government surveillance and questioning, immigration, and proactive community empowerment.

In this volatile political climate, we need to educate ourselves about our civil rights so that we can protect ourselves and our families. Our communities must be empowered, not afraid. Each one of us can, and must, play an active part.

For more information, please contact the CAIR office at 408.986.9874 or email


Naazish YarKhan, Huffington Post, 9/8/09

Ignorance is the real enemy, and in an effort to mend fences and grow relationships Muslims and Jews in Chicago have been part of the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative for several years now.

Ramadan is the holy month when Muslims fast and abstain from eating or drinking anything (and from marital relations) from pre-dawn hours to dusk. Iftar is the Arabic word for the meal Muslims have as they break their fast during Ramadan. It was the month that the Holy Quran, was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.

Ramadan is an opportune time to share one's traditions, especially inter-faith efforts. On September 13, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and Anshe Shalom Bnai Israel Congregation are hosting 'Iftar in the Synagogue,' where they will play host to Chicago’s Muslims and Jews in a communal iftar for an evening of what both traditions do best: eating, praying, discussing and schmoozing in a unique interfaith setting.

Ramadan, this year, coincides with the Jewish month of Elul, which is a time of repentance in preparation for the high holidays. Participants in the event include Council on American-Islamic Relations, a member of the JMCBI. Attendees from The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), a community-based Muslim nonprofit that works for social justice, will also be there. (More)


CIA reaches out to Muslims
Dinner in Dearborn will come on 'wrong night' amid Ramadan
Paul Egan, Detroit News, 9/9/09

Dearborn -- CIA Director Leon Panetta plans to visit Dearborn on Sept. 16 for an invitation-only dinner and speech with 150 leaders of the Arab and Muslim communities, officials confirmed Tuesday.

The visit comes amid an unprecedented outreach effort by the Central Intelligence Agency and as Panetta seeks to double the number of CIA analysts who are proficient in Arabic and other Mideast languages.

But the date chosen for the meeting -- the 27th night of Ramadan or "night of power," when many devout Muslims and imams spend the entire night worshiping in the mosque -- is drawing criticism.

"They picked the entirely wrong night on this," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "This is our leading intelligence agency who doesn't know this." (More)


Chris Vogel, Houston Press, 9/9/09

Mohammed Zakaria Memon just wanted to wash up. To just splash a little water over his face, hands, head and feet before a quick prayer five times a day in accordance with his Muslim religion.

But no. That was too much for the folks at Wal-Mart and Deloitte Consulting. Instead, they canned Memon. (More)

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