U.S. deports Iraqi-born Spaniard http://www.efenews.com/includesasp/noticias.asp?opcion=3&id=952453 Miami, Apr 14 (EFE).- Safana Jawad, an Iraqi-born SpaniardApr 16, 2006 1 of 6View SourceU.S. deports Iraqi-born Spaniard
Miami, Apr 14 (EFE).- Safana Jawad, an Iraqi-born
Spaniard who traveled to Florida to visit her teenage
son, was deported Thursday by U.S. immigration
officials, a Spanish diplomat told EFE.
"Immigration informed us that the Spanish citizen
detained in Tampa left on British Airways Flight 2166
at 6:45 p.m. (2245 GMT) today (Thursday)," said
Santiago Cabanas, Spain's consul-general in Miami.
Jawad, 45, was detained Tuesday upon her arrival at
Tampa International Airport. A spokesman for the
Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, told
EFE that the woman traveled to the United States to
visit her son, 16-year-old Hany Kubba, who lives with
his father in Clearwater, near Tampa. Though U.S.
Customs and Border Protection refused to comment on
the case, Jawad told The St. Petersburg Times in a
telephone interview from the Pinellas County jail that
U.S. officials said she was being deported because of
her links to someone they view as suspicious, but did
not identify that individual.
Jawad's ex-husband, Ahmad Maki Kubba, was a political
prisoner in Iraq under Saddam Hussein who won public
praise from Florida Gov.
Jeb Bush for having arranged an excursion to Tennessee
for a dozen friends to vote in the January 2005 Iraqi
CAIR's Ahmed Bedier told EFE that after being stopped
at immigration, Jawad was taken to a secure room in
the Tampa airport, where she was questioned for six
hours, after which she was transferred to the Pinellas
The treatment Jawad received was "very humiliating,"
according to Bedier, who said that U.S. officials
searched the woman and obliged her to remove her head
scarf. Consul-General Cabanas said he learned of the
case on Wednesday and immediately telephoned the
Pinellas County jail, where authorities allowed him to
speak to Jawad. "Within the nervousness and tension of
the situation, she was apparently fine," the diplomat
said, though adding that Jawad complained about being
strip-searched and having her possessions - including
a copy of the Koran - taken from her. EFE ar/dr
Iraq-born woman's ordeal prompts federal inquiry
Safana Jawad, 45, was visiting the U.S. to see her
ex-husband and son. She was sent back to Spain.
Supporters say she was singled out because she wore a
head scarf. She has been deported.
By SHADI RAHIMI
Published April 13, 2006
CLEARWATER - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security
will investigate the treatment of an Iraq-born woman
who was strip-searched at the Pinellas County Jail,
where she was detained after being barred from
entering the country.
Safana Jawad, 45, was sent home Thursday night without
seeing the teenage son she planned to surprise or her
ex-husband, who was lauded last year by Gov. Jeb Bush
as a symbol of progress in Iraq.
"It was a nightmare, and now it's over," Ahmad Maki
Kubba, 49, said in a telephone interview shortly after
watching his ex-wife's plane take off. "But it's
caused permanent damage that will be left forever."
Kubba said he was happy his ex-wife was returning home
to Spain because it meant an end to what he and her
supporters described at a news conference Thursday as
"humiliating" treatment during interrogation at Tampa
International Airport and the jail.
She was treated as if she were a common criminal, said
Ahmed Bedier, director of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations in Tampa.
Jawad was fingerprinted, photographed, strip-searched,
given a navy blue jumpsuit and placed in a 6- by
6-foot maximum security cell, Bedier said.
"Why did she have to go through this?" Bedier asked.
"There has to be a different way to deny people entry
into the U.S. without treating them like a dangerous
Bedier said that lawyers from his organization have
contacted the American Civil Liberties Union about
filing a discrimination lawsuit. Jawad was singled out
from other passengers on her flight because the devout
Muslim was the only one wearing a head scarf, he said.
Homeland Security officials declined for a second day
to provide details for why Jawad was denied entry,
citing privacy concerns. Jawad said Wednesday that
federal agents told her she is connected to someone
they view as suspicious, but refused to identify that
Jawad said federal agents told her she was taken to
jail because they could not arrange an earlier flight.
She left at 6:45 p.m. Thursday for England, where she
was scheduled to take another flight to Spain. She is
a citizen of Spain, where she fled from Iraq in 1979.
It is standard procedure for a traveler denied entry
to be held overnight, said Kelly Klundt, a spokeswoman
for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Washington,
D.C. That can mean jail, she said.
"The jail acts as a roof over their head and they feed
them, but it's not cushy," Klundt said. "They are
processed, but they're not incarcerated. It's just
simply a holding space." A hotel is not an option
because it is not a secure facility, she said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in
Washington, D.C., filed a complaint Thursday morning
with the civil rights office of the Department of
The office later faxed a letter to the council stating
that it will work with Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection, to
investigate "allegations of "strip-searching' and
detention in poor conditions."
Sgt. Jim Bordner, a jail spokesman, said everyone
brought to the jail by another agency is treated as an
inmate. "Our facility is a county jail; it's not a
shelter," he said.
Jawad, who was in the custody of U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement, was strip-searched to ensure that
she had no weapons or contraband, Bordner said. Her
head scarf was taken because it had metal barrettes,
but she was told she could borrow a scarf from the
chaplain, he said. She declined, he said.
"We try to minimize any unnecessary embarrassment and
avoid any indignity," Bordner said.
This was Jawad's first trip to the United States, said
Kubba, adding that he will never ask her to return. He
sent her a plane ticket so she could visit their
16-year-old son, Hany, for 12 days in Clearwater.
Their son aspires to join the U.S. Navy.
A vocal critic of Saddam Hussein's regime, Jawad
worked for several years in the 1990s as a translator
for the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Kubba said. She now
runs an antiques boutique.
Kubba, a U.S. citizen, spent 40 days in an Iraqi
prison for speaking out against Hussein and left in
1979 after he was sentenced to death. He had planned
Jawad's trip to coincide with the April 9 anniversary
of the liberation of Iraq, he said.
"This happened at a time that the Iraqi people are
saying, "Thank you America,"' he said.
Every day, at least one traveler is denied entry at a
U.S. airport because of terrorism or national security
concerns, Klundt said. Most of the time, the agency
tries to book a retur n flight immediately "to
inconvenience folks as little as possible," she said.
[Last modified April 13, 2006, 23:47:52]
Hearing for Muslim Barred by U.S.
By JULIA PRESTON
Published: April 14, 2006
Government lawyers clarified some mysteries yesterday
and deepened others in the case of Tariq Ramadan, a
Swiss Muslim scholar and leading European theologian
of Islam who has been barred by the Bush
administration from traveling to the United States
since July 2004.
Papers the government presented at a hearing in
federal court in New York revealed that, contrary to
officials' statements, a clause in the USA Patriot Act
that bans any foreigner who "endorses or espouses
terrorist activity" was not the reason Mr. Ramadan's
United States visa was revoked. The government also
said it did not intend to bar Mr. Ramadan in the
future based on that clause.
But the government also said that Mr. Ramadan's case
had been and remained a national security matter, and
that statements he made in recent interviews with
American consular officials in Switzerland had raised
new "serious questions" about whether he should be
allowed to come to the United States.
Neither the government's documents nor its lawyer,
David S. Jones, an assistant United States attorney,
explained why Mr. Ramadan was first banned or provided
any detail about the new concerns.
The hearing, before Judge Paul A. Crotty in Federal
District Court in Manhattan, came in a lawsuit by the
American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of three
academic and writers' organizations who have invited
Mr. Ramadan to speak. The groups claim their First
Amendment rights have been violated because they
cannot meet with Mr. Ramadan.
Mr. Ramadan's difficulties began in 2004, after he had
been hired by the University of Notre Dame as a
tenured professor. On July 28, 2004, the State
Department revoked his visa without official
explanation. A spokesman for the Department of
Homeland Security told reporters then that the visa
had been pulled under the clause barring foreigners
who support terrorism.
In December 2004, after Notre Dame unsuccessfully
pressed the administration to reconsider, Mr. Ramadan
resigned his position at the university and took a
nontenured professor's position at Oxford University
After receiving a raft of invitations to speak in the
United States, Mr. Ramadan applied again for a visa in
September. He was interviewed twice by consular
officials in Bern in December. In a recent interview,
Mr. Ramadan said he had spoken openly about his
opposition to the American occupation of Iraq.
The government would not predict when it would decide
on the visa, leaving Judge Crotty frustrated.
The plaintiff's "First Amendment rights can't wait
forever," he said.
One group in the suit, the PEN American Center, has
invited Mr. Ramadan to speak at a conference in New
York starting April 25.
Judge Crotty did not rule, but indicated he was
inclined to order the government to at least make a
decision about Mr. Ramadan.
SA Muslim scholar turned away from US San Francisco, United States 22 October 2006 07:49Oct 22, 2006 1 of 6View SourceSA Muslim scholar turned away from US
San Francisco, United States
22 October 2006 07:49
An Islamic scholar from South Africa has been denied
entry into the United States, prompting questions from
Muslims in the San Francisco Bay area who had invited
him to participate in activities marking the end of
the holy month of Ramadan.
Fazlur Rahman Azmi was detained by officials from US
Customs and Border Protection when he arrived at San
Francisco International Airport from London on Friday
afternoon, according to the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil liberties
Azmi, who had made previous visits to the country as
recently as April without problems, was questioned for
hours before being denied entry and sent on a plane
out of the country on Saturday, the group said.
Michael Fleming, a Customs and Border Protection
spokesperson, confirmed on Saturday that Azmi was
forced to leave the country after a brief detainment.
"His application for entry into the US was determined
to be inadmissible," said Fleming, refusing to give
any details of the case.
About 1 000 people are denied entry into the US every
day for reasons that include inadequate travel
documents or because their names appear on a US
government watch list.
"There's nothing suspicious about him," said Nawaz
Khan, of the Fremont, California-based Islamic Society
of East Bay whose members waited at the airport on
Friday while officials questioned Azmi. "He is not
involved in any political groups. All he does is teach
at the mosque and pray."
Khan said no one from the group was allowed to speak
with Azmi or provide food for the 60-year-old man, who
is diabetic and was fasting during the day in
observance of Ramadan. Officials only gave Azmi chips
and water, he said.
Khan said late on Saturday afternoon that he still had
not heard from Azmi, and had been fielding anxious
calls from the scholar's family in South Africa.
Officials would not say where Azmi's outbound flight
"The way visiting Islamic leaders are treated by
American authorities can send either a positive or
negative message to Muslims worldwide," CAIR
spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement. "So
far, the message in this case has been negative."
Last month, another Islamic scholar from South Africa,
Ismail Mullah, was denied entry into the country when
he arrived at Dulles International Airport for a trip
to visit Muslims in northern Virginia.
Also in September, the government denied a visa to one
of Europe's most prominent Muslim scholars, Tariq
Ramadan, a Swiss citizen who teaches at Oxford
University, contending he gave material support to a
terrorist group. Ramadan's attorneys alleged the US
government was using a charitable donation as a
pretext for censorship. -- Sapa-AP
Muslim scholar denied entry to U.S.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
A Muslim scholar from South Africa who was scheduled
to give lectures and lead prayers for an East Bay
Islamic group marking the end of the holy month of
Ramadan has been denied entry to the United States.
Fazlur Rahman Azmi, 60, was detained by immigration
officials at San Francisco International Airport when
he arrived from London on Friday afternoon, according
to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil
liberties group based in Washington, D.C.
A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection
could not be reached Saturday night. Immigration
officials told the Associated Press that Azmi had been
forced to leave the country but would not say why.
Azmi entered the United States in April this year with
no problems, according to the Islamic relations
He had been scheduled to participate in several days'
worth of activities, including a large celebration
Saturday night for the Fremont-based Islamic Society
of the East Bay, said Nawaz Kahn, a member of the
society. Kahn had gone with other East Bay Muslims to
pick up Azmi at the airport about 2:30 p.m. Friday,
and he said they waited 11 hours before immigration
officials told them Azmi would not be allowed in the
"This man is well respected in South Africa, he's one
of the greatest scholars and teachers of our religion,
and the way they treated him was very upsetting," Kahn
Muslims fear Fremont killing was hate crime
DYING MOTHER OF SIX HELD HER 3-YEAR-OLD'S HAND
By Lisa Fernandez
Posted on Fri, Oct. 20, 2006
As Alia Ansari lay dying on a Fremont sidewalk
Thursday, bleeding from a gunshot wound and gasping
for breath, she clutched her 3-year-old daughter's
``She didn't want her running into the street,''
cousin Amin Ansari, 26, said today as friends and
family gathered to mourn a happy, humble woman who,
they said, had no enemies. ``That's the kind of mother
Police said they have no idea why a gunman jumped out
of a car in broad daylight to shoot the mother of six
as she walked with her daughter to pick up her older
children at Glenmoor Elementary School. Although they
took a man into custody for questioning, they said he
is not a suspect at this point.
The only thing that might have made Ansari stand out
was her dress -- the traditional loose scarf, or
hijab, she wore on her head according to Muslim
But while some in the Afghan community feared her
killer could have been motivated by hate, police are
cautioning they have no reason to indicate her
ethnicity was a factor.
Police Sgt. Jeff Swadener said it was
``irresponsible'' to make the assumption that the
shooting was a hate crime at this early stage.
``We're a diverse community,'' he said, ``with people
who wear a variety of fashion and garb. There are many
cultures here. That's the way this town is.''
Nevertheless, some Fremont Afghans refused to leave
their homes today. One woman wouldn't go to a
laundromat because she feared she'd be hurt for the
way she looked.
Two Bay Area Muslim groups held news conferences today
in Fremont and Santa Clara, urging police to
investigate the murder as a possible hate crime and to
make the community aware that Muslims are not violent
people. They also urged anyone with information about
the crime to come forward.
Less than three hours after the shooting, police took
a 27-year-old Fremont man into custody as a ``person
of interest'' in the case and arrested him on an
unrelated parole violation.
Swadener said he seemed to match witnesses'
description of a dark-skinned man with a white T-shirt
and dark pants who was seen getting into a car after
the shooting, which took place at Glenmoor Drive and
Central Avenue. His car also resembled the one
witnesses saw, a Toyota Tercel with a rear spoiler.
However, the man was not arrested in connection with
the killing, and police did not release his name.
Swadener said he likely would remain in custody
through the weekend while detectives look for
gunpowder residue on his hands and put him through a
lineup to see if witnesses identify him. No weapon has
The real killer, Swadener acknowledged, may still be
Swadener said he did not know how many times Ansari
was shot, or in which parts of her body. An autopsy
was put on hold, as Ansari's family sought to stop it
because of their religious beliefs against carving up
bodies after death.
Other than her dress, which may have made her stand
out, Ansari was far from a typical shooting target,
relatives said: She was a homemaker who ran errands,
shuttled her kids around, and cooked for family
events. Many in the extended family of at least 100
people considered her a second mother.
``She never argued, always had a smile,'' Amin Ansari
said. ``In my opinion, I don't see any other reason
Ansari immigrated with her parents and seven siblings
in the late 1980s, during the Soviet invasion of
Afghanistan. She has lived in a sparsely decorated,
worn-looking two-bedroom Glenmoor Drive apartment for
about five years. Relatives said she was deeply in
love with her husband, Ahmad, of 17 years.
Ansari's charcoal Toyota minivan sat parked outside
her apartment today. Apparently it had overheated a
few days ago. Her husband is a mechanic, but had been
so busy working as many as 12 hours a day that he
hadn't gotten around to fixing it, relatives said.
Ahmad stayed inside his home, too numb to speak. At
one point, he went into a room by himself, a family
friend said, because he needed quiet; he also suffers
from medical issues.
The family has five daughters and one son, ages 2 to
13. Only the oldest knew what really happened to their
``I don't know how the 3-year-old is processing it,''
said Amin Ansari. ``She thinks her mom is in the
hospital and coming home soon.''
Relatives grieved openly at the Ansari home. Streams
of women poured into the modest apartment complex.
Their wails pierced the air and were heard in the back
parking lot, where most of the male cousins and uncles
Neighbors cried, too. Maria Perez, 29, who has four
children about the same age as the Ansari children,
had moved next door last year.
``She introduced herself to me and said, `If you need
anything, milk or cereal, just let me know,' '' Perez
said. ``She was always cooking and cleaning. I just
can't fathom this.''
And with their mother gone, friends and relatives
worried, who will help Ansari's husband care for the
``There's only so much we can do,'' Amin Ansari said.
``The kids are all so young. All they've known is
Other cousins, such as Ashmat Ansari, owner of Pamir
Travel on Fremont Boulevard, were trying to pitch in
with free plane tickets to Afghanistan, if the family
decides to bury her there, and money for funeral
expenses and lawyers' fees.
Just four years ago, Ashmat Ansari's brother, Rahim,
was fatally shot in Fremont by a family acquaintance.
That killing, police said, seems to be unrelated at
Adding to the tragedy is the fact that Thursday's
shooting occurred during Ramadan, the holiest month of
the year for Muslims, in which people fast sunup until
sundown. The end of the holiday is Sunday night or
Monday, depending on the moon.
``This is a holy time for us, of peace and
forgiveness,'' Amin Ansari said. ``You're supposed to
be thinking of God. But all we can do now is think
about losing her.''
Shooting stuns community
By Eleni Economides, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated:10/21/2006 07:55:17 AM PDT
FREMONT On the sidewalk where Alia Ansari was slain
in broad daylight, family members and community
residents gathered Friday evening for an impromptu
"This is dedicated to Alia Ansari, who lost her life
yesterday in a tragic incident," said Hassan Ansari,
Alia's youngest brother, as he choked back tears.
"She has six kids and a loving husband, and all her
family here will miss her very much."
About 20 family and friends stood insilence, weeping
and staring at the sidewalk where Ansari died as they
lighted candles near a growing pile of flowers,
balloons and stuffed animals.
Ansari, 38, was shot and killed about 2:40 p.m.
Thursday as she was walking hand-in-hand with her
3-year-old daughter to pick up her other children from
nearby Glenmoor Elementary School, police said.
Her charcoal Toyota minivan sat parked outside her
apartment Friday. Apparently it had overheated a few
days before. Her husband is a mechanic but had been
working as many as 12 hours a day and hadn't got
around to fixing it, relatives said.
Although the exact sequence of events in Thursday's
shooting is still unclear, witnesses say a gunman shot
Ansari once at point-blank range before fleeing in a
small black Toyota or BMW with a spoiler.
Fremont police have detained a 27-year-old "person of
interest" in the crime but have not released further
details of the investigation.
Inside Ansari's home, a small, sparsely decorated,
two-bedroom Glenmoor Drive apartment, the wailing and
crying of women echoed as male family members stood
outside, quietly grieving.
Solemn visitors approached Ansari's family, most of
whom emigrated to Fremont from Afghanistan, and
"This is so hard to grasp she was such a harmless
person," said Ali Ansari, Alia Ansari's first cousin.
"We are in shock. I mean, why could this happen to
someone so innocent? She was a sister to all of us a
caring mother and a humble and respectful person. It's
hard to believe this could have been anybody. It
hurts us all."
Only the oldest children knew what really happened to
"I don't know how the 3-year-old is processing it,"
said Amin Ansari. "She thinks her mom is in the
hospital and coming home soon."
Because Ansari was wearing the hijab traditional
Muslim head scarf at the time of her slaying, some
of her family members speculated that the crime could
be racially motivated.
"I know she was wearing her hijab and she had no
problems before with anybody," Hamoyon Ansari said the
day of the slaying.
He went on to say that there would be no other reason
that someone "would do this."
Because of the speculation, the Council for
American-Islamic Relations partnered with the Islamic
Society of the East Bay to hold a news conference at
the Fremont mosque to address the situation.
"We call on the police to investigate this issue
thoroughly and on a timely basis, and to determine
whether this was a hate crime or not, especially in
light of the actual circumstance of the crime, and in
the light of the current political climate," said
CAIR's civil rights coordinator, Abdul Rahman Hamamsy,
in a statement.
Safaa Ibrahim, president of CAIR's San Francisco/Bay
Area chapter, expressed concern about what the slaying
means for the safety of the community as a whole.
"This was a simple woman, and we absolutely hope this
is not (a hate crime)," Ibrahim said.
"We hope that justice is brought to ensure peace and
security not just for the Muslim community, but for
many others that live here and also come from a
diverse ethnic background," Ibrahim said.
Rona Murtaza Popal, president of the Afghan Women's
Association in Fremont, said she is waiting to find
out the motive before drawing any conclusions. Any
statement, she said, would be speculation.
"If it's a hate crime, then it's going to affect the
whole community," Popal said.
"Right now we're fighting against terrorism and
against the killing of innocent people. It's
She added that after suffering through decades of war,
many Afghans have experienced threats of violence in
Afghanistan and they hope violence has not followed
Ansari immigrated with her parents and seven siblings
in the late 1980s, during the Soviet invasion of
Afghanistan. She had lived in the Glenmoor Drive
apartment for about five years.
Amal Dastagirzada, a distant relative of Ansari, said
word of the slaying spread like wildfire throughout
Fremont's estimated 9,000- to 12,000-strong Afghan
"I came to show support for the community, and for a
lady that was so loved and cared for," Dastagirzada
"I'm a grown man, but I'm scared. Many Afghans already
went through so much with the Soviet occupation. They
came here to be safe. Now, how can any of us feel
A trust fund has been established to help support
Ansari's husband of 17 years, Ahmad, and her six
children. Deposits can be made into account
No. 55041477 at any Fremont Bank location.
Ansari's memorial service arrangements are pending.
Staff writer Jonathan Jones and MediaNews writer Lisa
Fernandez contributed to this report. Eleni Economides
can be reached at (510) 353-7006 or
Top Muslim kicked out of the US Seven-hour ordeal in New York causes angry backlash By ROUX VAN ZYL and TOM MAPHAMOct 26, 2006 1 of 6View SourceTop Muslim kicked out of the US
Seven-hour ordeal in New York causes angry backlash
By ROUX VAN ZYL
and TOM MAPHAM
A STORM is brewing after leading South African
academic and Muslim, Professor Adam Habib, was
deported from the US at the weekend.
Habib, executive director of the Human Sciences
Research Councils Democracy and Governance Research
Programme, was questioned for more than seven hours at
John F Kennedy International Airport in New York.
His visa was then revoked and he was escorted back to
a plane by armed guards and deported.
Habib is the third South African Muslim to be deported
from the US in the past month.
Local human rights activists, including Muslim groups,
have reacted with outrage, calling on the US to
justify their actions.
Habib last night told the Daily Dispatch that on his
arrival in the US, officials pulled him aside and
asked whether he knew any terrorists or if he belonged
to any terror organisations.
They asked me if I was a terrorist and I said no.
Then they asked if I had ever been in prison and I
said yes, I was politically detained by the apartheid
government, he said.
Habib, who has not been given a reason for his
deportation, said he felt his personal rights were
severely infringed. You cant just deny someone
access to a country and not give them any reasons why.
Its like you accuse someone, but you dont tell them
what for, he said.
Habibs ordeal started on Saturday when he arrived in
New York with an HSRC delegation scheduled to meet
officials of a number of US institutions, including
the National Institute of Health, the Center for
Disease Control, the World Bank, Columbia University
and some donor agencies. It came out of the blue. I
have a 10-year multiple entry visa issued three years
ago. The last time I travelled to the US was in 2004
and I did not have any problems.
In 2002 and 2003 the Financial Mail described Habib as
one of the 300 most influential black opinion makers
in South Africa.
Habib said he had visited the US more than 20 times
previously for work and personal reasons without any
A US embassy spokesperson in Pretoria, Mark Schlacter,
confirmed Habib had been interviewed by US customs and
border protection officials who determined that his
application for entry was inadmissible. The reasons
were unavailable to him, he said, and he directed
queries to US customs in New York.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa declined
to comment on the incident or whether it could
unsettle diplomatic relations with the US. Professor
Habib has been in contact with the department and has
promised to send us a full report. Once we have seen
the report, then we can plot the way forward.
Yesterday, Muslim Judicial Council spokesperson
Nabeweya Malick was shocked and disappointed by
Habibs deportation. The council planned to ask the US
Embassy today to account for the behaviour of their
This is not the first time this has happened. We are
very concerned about the situation. We are beginning
to feel that if you wear a beard or a fez you are a
target, she said.
Earlier this month, Moulana Fazlur Rahman Azmi, a
deputy amir in Gauteng, was denied access to the US.
He had been invited to take part in activities marking
the end of the holy month of Ramadan by a
California-based Islamic Society.
And a local Islamic scholar, Ismail Mullah, was also
denied entry when he arrived at Dulles International
Airport to visit Muslims in northern Virginia.
Dr Firoz Osman, secretary to the Media Review Network,
closely aligned to the Muslim Judicial Council,
claimed the targeting of Muslims by US customs
officials without justifiable reasons was a
reflection of paranoia and injustice that is fuelling
Islama-phobia around the world.
3 charged with ethnic intimidation
Students at Clinton Township alternative school
assaulted Arab-American business owner, police say.
George Hunter and Charles E. Ramirez / The Detroit
CLINTON TOWNSHIP -- Clintondale Community Schools is
defending its alternative education program after
three African-American students were charged Tuesday
with ethnic intimidation and assault in connection
with a melee outside a bus stop on Gratiot.
The students were charged with hurling slurs at an
Arab-American business owner after starting the fight
around noon Monday.
Dyeida Wilson, 18, and Antoneo Hardy, 19, were charged
in 41B District Court with assault with a dangerous
weapon and ethnic intimidation. Rodney Hayes, 17, was
charged as an adult with assault and battery and
All three are from Detroit and attend the Clintondale
Continuing Education Center. The center, east of
Gratiot between 15 Mile and 16 Mile, offers
alternative high school education and job training
The confrontation is part of a problem that has been
brewing between students who attend the school and
nearby business owners, police and merchants said.
Clintondale school officials said they are working to
address the community's concerns about students who
misbehave outside school.
Those involved in Monday's melee have been
The district has gone so far as shuttling students
from bus stops to the school, said Mitchell Ritter,
assistant superintendent of human resources.
"I don't think we've ever had an incident that went to
this extent," he said. "Obviously, whenever any of our
students step out of line, it reflects on the school."
Monday's altercation started when the students, who
were standing at a bus stop on southbound Gratiot,
knocked down a sign touting a special for 10 Minute
Express Lube a few yards away from the bus stop,
"Usually, I just ignore them," Express Lube owner Joe
Khalil said. "But (Monday) I went outside and told
them to stop knocking down my sign.
"They called me a (ethnically pejorative term) and
told me to go back to where I came from," said Khalil,
who is half Lebanese and half German and was born in
the United States. One of the students struck Khalil
in the face. He had a large abrasion under his lip
Tuesday that he said he suffered during the fight.
At one point, the students also began fighting with
employees of a Marathon gas station next door. Wilson
and Hardy threatened a gas station employee with
knives, said Lt. Mark Rybinski of the Clinton Township
"Then they took an American flag from the gas station
and cut one of the employees in the face with the
sharp end of the flagpole," Rybinski said.
Hassan Abboud, who owns the Marathon station, said
Tuesday that's he's been working on a petition that
calls for the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional
Transportation -- or SMART -- to remove the bus stop
from in front of his business.
The teens' rowdyism often continues once they board
the southbound SMART buses, police said.
Roseville Police Deputy Chief Mike Pachla said there
have been at least two incidents this school year in
which SMART drivers were forced to call police after
students caused problems on the bus.
To try to minimize the problem of rowdy students for
its bus drivers, SMART is working with Clintondale
Community Schools officials to monitor the situation,
SMART spokeswoman Beth Gibbons said. It also
frequently has supervisors who follow or ride its
buses, she said.
Hardy and Wilson were held Tuesday in the Clinton
Township lockup in lieu of $5,000 bond, while Hayes
was held on $3,000 bond. Magistrate Daniel Goulette
ordered them to stay away from the gas station.
You can reach George Hunter at (586) 468-7396 or
Students charged with assaulting Arab-American
The Associated Press
Published: October 25, 2006
CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Michigan Three teenagers accused of
attacking an Arab-American merchant were charged with
ethnic intimidation and assault.
Rodney Hayes, 17, was charged as an adult with assault
and battery and ethnic intimidation. Dyeida Wilson,
18, and Antoneo Hardy, 19, were charged with assault
with a dangerous weapon and ethnic intimidation. All
are from Detroit which, along with its suburbs, is
home to one of the largest concentrations of Arab
Americans in the United States.
The melee began Monday when the students, who were
standing at a bus stop, knocked down a nearby sign
advertising a business owned by Joe Khalil, police
"Usually, I just ignore them," Khalil told The Detroit
News for a Wednesday story. "But (Monday) I went
outside and told them to stop knocking down my sign."
The suspects called him an ethnically derogative name
"and told me to go back to where I came from," said
Khalil, who is half-Lebanese and half-German and was
born in the United States.
One of the students struck Khalil in the face. They
also began fighting with employees of a neighboring
Marathon gas station owned by another Arab-American
and threatened a worker with knives, said Lt. Mark
Rybinski of the Clinton Township Police Department.
"Then they took an American flag from the gas station
and cut one of the employees in the face with the
sharp end of the flagpole," Rybinski said.
The suspects attend an alternative high school
education and job training center.
Church to hold service for slain Muslim woman
NO ARREST IN SHOOTING OF AFGHAN MOTHER
By Lisa Fernandez
Posted on Wed, Oct. 25, 2006
A Fremont church will host a memorial service Saturday
for Alia Ansari, 38, the Afghan woman who was shot in
the head as she picked up three of her six children
from Glenmoor Elementary School.
Ansari was killed Thursday at the corner of Glenmoor
Drive and Central Avenue. A ``person of interest'' has
been questioned and is in custody on a separate parole
violation. But no one has been arrested in connection
with her death.
Tuesday, Fremont police said there was no change in
the status of the 27-year-old Fremont man; he was at
Santa Rita Jail on a parole hold.
Pastor Bruce Green, who is a facilitator between
Christians and Muslims, visited the Ansari family
Monday evening and asked Ansari's husband, Ahmad, if
he would like to use the Centerville Presbyterian
Church's gymnasium to host a community gathering
honoring his wife.
According to Green, Ahmad Ansari said yes. Ahmad
Ansari has declined to speak to the media about his
wife's death. Green reached out to the family on Eid
al-Fitr, a Muslim celebration after the monthlong fast
of Ramadan. Despite the family's grief, Green said he
was treated as an honored guest.
``He was so gracious to agree,'' Green said. ``I
appreciate their family's spirit. I felt so warmly
received by the way I was greeted. It was very
humbling for me.''
Ahmad Ansari will probably not be at the memorial; he
hopes to fly to Afghanistan this weekend to bury his
wife there. Cousin Hashmat Ansari, who owns Pamir
Travel in Fremont, said he's helping pay for the plane
The service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. in the
gymnasium of Centerville Presbyterian Church, 4360
Central Ave. The room can hold about 500 guests.
It will take more than prayers to combat the hate
Five years ago, a few days after terrorists murdered
thousands and destroyed the World Trade Center, I went
to pray at the most peaceful, anti-violent place I
could think of, the downtown Brooklyn meeting house of
the Religious Society of Friends, better known as the
In addition to the still, soul-cleansing religious
service, the Quakers asked for volunteers to escort
Muslim women and girls to and from school in Brooklyn,
explaining that many had already gone into hiding
after being threatened with violence on the street.
Now, years later, and as the Islamic holy month of
Ramadan concludes, Muslims from coast to coast
continue to be targeted for insult and attack, a fact
that should shame and disgust all freedom-loving
Just last week in California, a mother of six named
Alia Ansari was shot to death while walking to an
elementary school with her 3-year-old daughter. Police
have made one arrest in the case, but Ansari's family
members are saying her murder was a hate crime because
the Afghan-born victim was wearing a hijab, a
traditional Muslim headscarf, at the time she was
Ansari's killer was swimming in a sea of anti-Muslim
bias. This year, an ABC/Washington Post poll found
that 46% of Americans have a negative perception of
Islam - 7% higher than in the months immediately
following the 9/11 attacks. The same poll found that
one in four Americans admitted having personal bias
Let hatred fester, and this is what you get: a woman
gunned down in broad daylight while holding her
The killing comes shortly after a new study by the
Council on American-Islamic Relations, a
Washington-based civil rights organization, recorded
1,972 complaints of bias or hate attacks against
Muslims in 2005, a jump of nearly 30% above the 1,522
reported in 2004. The group says last year saw the
highest number of complaints since a burst of 1,717
logged in the six months after 9/11.
The CAIR report is a disturbing catalogue of religious
bigotry and violence. Last November, a man named
Robert Blackburn was arrested for allegedly firing
more than 50 shots at cars parked outside a
Philadelphia-area mosque; Blackburn was in hunting
gear with a rifle when cops nabbed him. In Florida, a
mosque being built in Boca Raton had its sign burned
three times and defaced with profanities. Last
December, a pair of pipe bombs destroyed part of a
mosque outside of Cincinnati.
And CAIR itself was the target of e-mails from a
Vietnam veteran named Max Oakley from Toledo, Ohio,
who threatened to bomb the organization last year. The
e-mailer was jailed, fined and sentenced to probation.
Here in New York - where CAIR found 173 bias
complaints, more than in any state except California
and Illinois - complaints include the alleged beating
last year of Adel Ghanem, a seventh-grade student at
New Dorp Christian Academy. More recently, police have
begun investigating two separate incidents at Pace
University in which copies of the Koran were found in
Religious and civil rights groups have their work cut
out for them. So do educators, pundits and political
leaders. We need more - a lot more - of the neighborly
civility instinctively summoned by the Quakers even as
the World Trade Center was smoldering.
Fasting Muslims topic of dispute
BY MICHAEL D. CLARK | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
MASON - School board members and the superintendent
here hurled accusations Tuesday evening over two
Muslim students being offered the use of a public
space for their religious holiday.
The clash forced an early end to the meeting.
Jennifer Miller, who joined the Mason Board of
Education in January after running as a conservative
Christian, lashed out at Superintendent Kevin Bright
over a dispute that included the district's decision
to offer two Muslim high school students the use of an
empty room during lunch hour.
The religious holiday of Ramadan ended Monday.
Followers fast during daylight to observe their holy
After a speaker complained that the district was
favoring one religion in the public high school,
Bright, however, disputed Miller's description that it
was an offer for a "prayer room," saying the parents
asked for a space during lunch away from other
students so their children would not be uncomfortable
while they fasted. The room was never used, he said.
"It's a fasting room," he said to Miller, "not a
Miller then accused Bright, and board president Kevin
Wise, of "avoiding the issue" and said Bright lied in
his previous description.
"This is ridiculous and absurd," said Bright, who has
frequently had tense exchanges with Miller. "You are
questioning my ethics and my morals."
"I could go on about your ethics and morals,"
countered Miller, which prompted shouts of
encouragement from anti-school levy activists who
regularly back Miller.
Wise interjected, "That is out of line!"
"I represent a lot of people in this community,"
Board member Deborah Delp joined in, saying she and
another district official were present when Bright
described to Miller a "fasting room."
"You continue to call me and (district officials)
liars and you better be quiet!" said Delp.
Frustrated, Wise told Miller that unless she adopted a
more respectful tone, the meeting would be adjourned
early, which it was.
Hate crimes reported in Florida, Ohio http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?StoryID=20061208-110226-9536r WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Muslims inDec 10 9:23 AM 1 of 6View SourceHate crimes reported in Florida, Ohio
WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Muslims in Florida and
Ohio have been victims of alleged racially-motivated
attacks, the Council on American-Islamic Relations
The group urged the Federal Bureau of Investigation to
launch investigations into the attacks.
"In Melbourne, Fla., a Muslim of North African
heritage was badly beaten during a robbery Nov. 14 in
which a witness told police that one of the assailants
shouted "you stupid Arab ..." and used other abusive
terms, CAIR said. "A mosque in that same city was
struck by gunfire in September as worshipers prayed
inside," the organization said.
"In Ohio, a Muslim woman wearing an Islamic head scarf
said she was verbally assaulted on Tuesday by another
customer at a Lakewood Walgreens when she used a
passport as identification to cash a check. She told
CAIR that the cashier and other customers looked on as
the man shouted obscenities, made obscene gestures and
shouted 'go back home' and 'who needs to use a
passport for ID in America.'"
In that attack, the woman, who had been born in Saudi
Arabia, said her assailant later tried to run her over
with his vehicle when she tried to record his license
plate number. She also told CAIR that no one in the
store tried to help her.
"Unfortunately, these types of incidents are becoming
more frequent as the level of anti-Muslim rhetoric in
our society grows, while religious and political
leaders remain largely silent," said CAIR National
Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "We call on
local and national law enforcement authorities,
including the FBI, to investigate both incidents as
possible hate crimes."
Hooper also said CAIR had documented an almost 30
percent growth in what CAIR called "the total number
of complaints of anti-Muslim bias" in its most recent
report on the subject
Speaking frankly about Israel and Palestine
Jimmy Carter says his recent book is drawing knee-jerk
accusations of anti-Israel bias.
By Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United
States. His newest book is "Palestine: Peace Not
Apartheid," published last month. He is scheduled to
sign books Monday at Vroman's in Pasadena.
December 8, 2006
I signed a contract with Simon & Schuster two years
ago to write a book about the Middle East, based on my
personal observations as the Carter Center monitored
three elections in Palestine and on my consultations
with Israeli political leaders and peace activists.
We covered every Palestinian community in 1996, 2005
and 2006, when Yasser Arafat and later Mahmoud Abbas
were elected president and members of parliament were
chosen. The elections were almost flawless, and
turnout was very high except in East Jerusalem,
where, under severe Israeli restraints, only about 2%
of registered voters managed to cast ballots.
The many controversial issues concerning Palestine and
the path to peace for Israel are intensely debated
among Israelis and throughout other nations but not
in the United States. For the last 30 years, I have
witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any
free and balanced discussion of the facts. This
reluctance to criticize any policies of the Israeli
government is because of the extraordinary lobbying
efforts of the American-Israel Political Action
Committee and the absence of any significant contrary
It would be almost politically suicidal for members of
Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel
and Palestine, to suggest that Israel comply with
international law or to speak in defense of justice or
human rights for Palestinians. Very few would ever
deign to visit the Palestinian cities of Ramallah,
Nablus, Hebron, Gaza City or even Bethlehem and talk
to the beleaguered residents. What is even more
difficult to comprehend is why the editorial pages of
the major newspapers and magazines in the United
States exercise similar self-restraint, quite contrary
to private assessments expressed quite forcefully by
their correspondents in the Holy Land.
With some degree of reluctance and some uncertainty
about the reception my book would receive, I used
maps, text and documents to describe the situation
accurately and to analyze the only possible path to
peace: Israelis and Palestinians living side by side
within their own internationally recognized
boundaries. These options are consistent with key U.N.
resolutions supported by the U.S. and Israel, official
American policy since 1967, agreements consummated by
Israeli leaders and their governments in 1978 and 1993
(for which they earned Nobel Peace Prizes), the Arab
League's offer to recognize Israel in 2002 and the
International Quartet's "Roadmap for Peace," which has
been accepted by the PLO and largely rejected by
The book is devoted to circumstances and events in
Palestine and not in Israel, where democracy prevails
and citizens live together and are legally guaranteed
Although I have spent only a week or so on a book tour
so far, it is already possible to judge public and
media reaction. Sales are brisk, and I have had
interesting interviews on TV, including "Larry King
Live," "Hardball," "Meet the Press," "The NewsHour
With Jim Lehrer," the "Charlie Rose" show, C-SPAN and
others. But I have seen few news stories in major
newspapers about what I have written.
Book reviews in the mainstream media have been written
mostly by representatives of Jewish organizations who
would be unlikely to visit the occupied territories,
and their primary criticism is that the book is
anti-Israel. Two members of Congress have been
publicly critical. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
for instance, issued a statement (before the book was
published) saying that "he does not speak for the
Democratic Party on Israel." Some reviews posted on
Amazon.com call me "anti-Semitic," and others accuse
the book of "lies" and "distortions." A former Carter
Center fellow has taken issue with it, and Alan
Dershowitz called the book's title "indecent."
Out in the real world, however, the response has been
overwhelmingly positive. I've signed books in five
stores, with more than 1,000 buyers at each site. I've
had one negative remark that I should be tried for
treason and one caller on C-SPAN said that I was an
anti-Semite. My most troubling experience has been the
rejection of my offers to speak, for free, about the
book on university campuses with high Jewish
enrollment and to answer questions from students and
professors. I have been most encouraged by prominent
Jewish citizens and members of Congress who have
thanked me privately for presenting the facts and some
The book describes the abominable oppression and
persecution in the occupied Palestinian territories,
with a rigid system of required passes and strict
segregation between Palestine's citizens and Jewish
settlers in the West Bank. An enormous imprisonment
wall is now under construction, snaking through what
is left of Palestine to encompass more and more land
for Israeli settlers. In many ways, this is more
oppressive than what blacks lived under in South
Africa during apartheid. I have made it clear that the
motivation is not racism but the desire of a minority
of Israelis to confiscate and colonize choice sites in
Palestine, and then to forcefully suppress any
objections from the displaced citizens. Obviously, I
condemn any acts of terrorism or violence against
innocent civilians, and I present information about
the terrible casualties on both sides.
The ultimate purpose of my book is to present facts
about the Middle East that are largely unknown in
America, to precipitate discussion and to help restart
peace talks (now absent for six years) that can lead
to permanent peace for Israel and its neighbors.
Another hope is that Jews and other Americans who
share this same goal might be motivated to express
their views, even publicly, and perhaps in concert. I
would be glad to help with that effort.
Japanese, Muslim Americans look back on national
Major tragedies usher in dark ages for both minority
By Michael Manekin, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated:12/07/2006 07:56:59 AM PST
When the Imperial Japanese Navy swooped over Pearl
Harbor 65 years ago and destroyed more than 2,400
American lives, Mas Yamasaki was watching a church
basketball game in Sacramento.
He was 12, and he didn't know that he would soon live
in a detention camp in Tule Lake sleeping on an
Army-issued mattress, braving the elements without
indoor plumbing or heat.
The child of Japanese immigrants, Yamasaki was born an
American citizen. But he spent 31/2 years of his
American childhood in the camp he was considered a
threat to national security.
The internment of Japanese immigrants is familiar to
most Americans in large part, because Yamasaki and
legions ofJapanese camp survivors have made their
Now, Yamasaki and other survivors are speaking out
against a new danger.
"We were stereotyped," said Yamasaki. "Now, with the
Muslims, it's the same thing. Everyone's pointing
fingers saying they're an enemy."
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor stripped
Japanese-Americans of their homes and freedom. But
five years ago, the actions of 19 hijackers radically
altered the lives of the country's estimated 6 million
"Pearl Harbor gave the United States the excuse to
discriminate against Japanese-Americans by saying
these guys are potential saboteurs," said Steve
Okamoto, co-president of the San Mateo chapter of the
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). "Now,
they're lumping (Muslims) together like they did with
Okamoto, 65, was only 6 weeks old when he and his
family were shipped from their home to the Tanforan
Racetrack in San Bruno and later to the Topaz
internment camp in Utah. He spent his first four years
in the Utah desert.
After 9/11, Okamoto and other members of the JACL were
the first non-Muslims to speak out against the
swirling dust storm of anti-Muslim hate speech.
Okamoto since has helped coordinate JACL forums with
Muslim Americans to speak out on the dangerous
excesses of stereotyping both past and present.
In February, Imam Tahir Anwar, the director of
religious services at the South Bay Islamic Center in
San Jose, appeared at a JACL event to honor the Day of
Remembrance the day that President Franklin D.
Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 and authorized
the detention of Japanese-Americans.
"The decisions that have been made by the
Administration after Sept. 11 and the decisions made
after Pearl Harbor have not been very friendly to a
lot of Americans," Anwar said this week. "People have
suffered. After Pearl Harbor, it was the Japanese. And
now, it's almost anyone who is a Muslim, looks like a
Muslim, comes from a Muslim country or has anything
that sounds like a Muslim last name."
While Anwar, 28, has avoided the kind of physical and
verbal assaults that make hate-crime headlines in the
nation's newspapers, many members of his congregation
have experienced discrimination. As a result, some are
reluctant to fly out of the country, fearful of
religious and ethnic profiling. Others are worried
that the government is spying on them.
Once, Anwar said, a member of his congregation got a
knock on the door at 6 a.m. from an FBI agent. He
wanted to check up on a $20 check the man had written
to a Muslim charity.
"You would imagine that we would learn after Pearl
Harbor, but we just haven't learned the most important
lesson: Don't judge people based on the color of their
skin or what they look like," said Anwar.
While Anwar pointed out that Japanese Americans
suffered far worse after the bombing of Pearl Harbor
than Muslim Americans after 9/11, he added that
"Muslims do feel like they're living in a camp."
Although Muslim Americans face stereotyping and
spying, many of the most blatant victims of negative
typecasting are Muslims on extended visits to the
country. After 9/11, more than 1,000 men from Muslim
countries were detained, mostly on immigration
charges. Many of those charged were later deported.
In 2002 and 2003, Muslim men and boys living in the
United States from about 20 countries were told to
register with immigration officials under the threat
But some Muslim Americans say they don't feel
Imam Abdurrahman Anwar is the younger brother of Imam
Tahir Anwar. He is also the religious director of the
Muslim Community Association of the Peninsula, a
mosque and community center in Belmont. Unlike his
brother, Imam Abdurrahman Anwar has not encountered
much racial profiling and discrimination. People in
the Bay Area, he said, are more enlightened and
understanding. When Anwar, 22, walks around town with
his beard and his "thobe" (an ankle-length gown worn
by Muslims), he gets friendly inquiries about his
faith alongside the stares.
But some members of his congregation are not so
On a recent evening, Imad Kadoumi, 48, sat on the
mosque's carpeted floor and chatted about his
experiences in the nation's airports flying while
"When I go anywhere in the world, because of my U.S.
passport, they treat me like a king," said Kadoumi,
who lives in Belmont. "And when I come home to my
country, they treat me like (expletive)."
Kadoumi, a travel agent for Hadid International
Services, often travels out of the country whether
to Syria, where he was born, or elsewhere in the
Middle East and he is consistently profiled by
federal security and customs agents. Before a recent
flight from Calgary, after U.S. Customs detained him
for more than an hour, Kadoumi asked the agent why he
was always detained. The agent replied by asking if he
was aware of 9/11.
"I told him, 'Of course. That was my country they
bombed, too,'" Kadoumi said.
Watching the Twin Towers burn on 9/11, Kadoumi said he
felt outrage against the terrorists. Then, in the
weeks that followed, he was blindsided by the negative
stereotyping against Muslims.
"I never expected that the discrimination would be to
this magnitude," said Kadoumi. "It's gone too far
and it's building, actually. We feel the fear day by
day. We're really suffering. And when I see down the
tunnel, there's no light. It's all darkness."
Kadoumi's outlook may seem bleak, but he lives with
his glass half-full. Since 9/11, he's made a special
point of participating in interfaith outreach with
Jews and Christians. In fact, everywhere he goes
from work to the market to the mall Kadoumi is an
"ambassador" for Islam, making a special point to
proclaim his respect for all religions, all people.
Like most American Muslims, he prays for an end to
terror and an end to the war on terror, which has
made him a villain to some and a suspect to many.
After all, Japanese-Americans may have faced
imprisonment, but they eventually fought their way
back into the mainstream of this immigrant nation. In
1988, President George H.W. Bush even issued an
apology for the country's detainment of Japanese in
the wake of Pearl Harbor.
At some point, the U.S. government may apologize to
Muslims and Muslim Americans. Only, Kadoumi, for one,
said he is not holding his breath.
"I don't see any changes in the government's
perspective," he said. "If they realize they made a
mistake, they'll apologize and right now, I don't
think that's even feasible."
Staff writer Michael Manekin can be reached at (650)
348-4331 or by e-mail at
Slurs Used in Attacks on Muslims in Florida, Ohio Says
12/7/2006 4:07:00 PM
To: National Desk
Contact: Sabiha Khan, 407-649-1660 or skhan@...
or , Julia A. Shearson, 216-830-2247, 216-440-2247 or
cleveland@... , Ibrahim Hooper,
202-488-8787, 202-744-7726 or ihooper@... , or
Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787, 202-439-1441 or
rahmed@... , all of the Council on
WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Council on
American- Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that
racial and ethnic slurs were used during recent
attacks on Muslims in Florida and Ohio. CAIR called on
the FBI to probe both incidents as possible hate
In Melbourne, Fla., a Muslim of North African heritage
was badly beaten during a robbery Nov. 14 in which a
witness told police that one of the assailants shouted
"you stupid Arab (expletive)" as he beat the
42-year-old victim. A mosque in that same city was
struck by gunfire in September as worshipers prayed
In Ohio, a Muslim woman wearing an Islamic head scarf
said she was verbally assaulted on Tuesday by another
customer at a Lakewood Walgreens when she used a
passport as identification to cash a check.
She told CAIR that the cashier and other customers
looked on as the man shouted obscenities, made obscene
gestures and shouted "go back home" and "who needs to
use a passport for ID in America."
According to the victim, the man also tried to back
his vehicle over her in the parking lot when she
attempted to write down his license plate number. The
woman, a permanent resident who was born in Saudi
Arabia, said she was concerned that no one in the
store came to her assistance.
"Unfortunately, these types of incidents are becoming
more frequent as the level of anti-Muslim rhetoric in
our society grows, while religious and political
leaders remain largely silent," said CAIR National
Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "We call on
local and national law enforcement authorities,
including the FBI, to investigate both incidents as
possible hate crimes."
Hooper said CAIR's most recent report on the status of
American Muslim civil rights showed an almost 30
percent increase in the total number of complaints of
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group,
has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam,
encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower
American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote
justice and mutual understanding.
Pundit Ripped for Telling Rep To Keep Quran Out of
Jennifer Siegel | Fri. Dec 08, 2006
A conservative pundit popular on the Jewish dinner
circuit has aroused a nationwide controversy by
rejecting the right of a newly elected Muslim
congressman to be sworn in using a Quran.
In a November 28 column published on the Web site
Townhall.com, radio talkshow host and syndicated
columnist Dennis Prager wrote that using Islams
sacred text would be damaging to the fabric of
Insofar as a member of Congress is taking an oath to
serve America and uphold its values is concerned,
Prager wrote, America is interested in only one book,
the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on
that book, dont serve in Congress.
Prager penned the essay after learning that Minnesota
Rep.-elect Keith Ellison the first Muslim ever
elected to Congress plans to use a Quran at his
private swearing-in ceremony. Muslim American leaders,
in turn, have called for Prager, who is Jewish, to be
stripped of his seat on the United States Holocaust
Memorial Council, which oversees the United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Several prominent Jewish organizations and leaders
have also publicly criticized Prager. In an unusually
barbed rebuke, the Anti-Defamation League called the
pundits argument intolerant, misinformed and
If Prager were merely a blogger and radio talkshow
host trying to be relevant and provocative, these
views might not merit a response, the ADL wrote in a
December 1 statement. But as a newly appointed member
of the United States Holocaust Council, Prager and his
views must be held to a higher standard. The ADLs
criticism was echoed by Rabbi David Saperstein,
director of the Religious Action Center of Reform
Judaism, who issued a statement urging the commentator
to rethink his position and apologize.
In respone to an inquiry from the Forward, the
American Jewish Committee issued a statement calling
Pragers remarks disrespectful and unfortunate.
The author of several popular books on Judaism, Prager
regularly addresses Jewish communal groups. These
include Jewish federations, which typically pay him an
honorarium of $10,000, according to an official in the
speakers bureau of United Jewish Communities.
Speakers fees for federation events typically range
from $600 to $10,000, although marquee speakers such
as former presidents can earn up to $100,000.
Stephen Hoffman, president of the Jewish Community
Federation of Cleveland, said that unless Prager
issues an apology a step the pundit has so far
resisted he could find himself unwelcome as a
speaker in the citys organized Jewish community.
Theres lines you draw, and Dennis probably crossed
the line, Hoffman said in an interview with the
Forward. He added, Just because we can get by with
the first Five Books and some people say its okay
doesnt mean its okay for the next guy to stand up
and say if they cant swear on a Christian Bible,
theyre not qualified. Hes pandering [and] I
wouldnt want the Muslim community to bring in a
panderer. So thats what wed have to think about.
Setting aside Pragers political arguments, a number
of commentators, including the ADL, have noted that
the pundits suggestion that the Christian Bible is an
officially sanctioned part of the swearing-in ceremony
is inaccurate: When members of the House are sworn in,
it is done en masse and without religious texts. Many
members then choose to hold an additional private
ceremony where religious texts are often used. Some
Jewish lawmakers, including Florida Rep. Debbie
Wasserman Schultz, have insisted on employing the
Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible.
The Constitution bans any religious test for office,
said Marc Stern, general counsel of the American
Jewish Congress, but through much of the 19th century
the prohibition was understood to apply only to
federal government. Many states required legislators
to take Christian oaths, which effectively barred Jews
from office. Jewish leaders and others strenuously
fought the restrictions, which largely fell away by
Despite this historical parallel, a number of communal
leaders have been reluctant to criticize Prager. One
Jewish leader in Ellisons Minneapolis district
which during the campaign this year was itself roiled
by controversy over Ellisons past association with
the Nation of Islam suggested that Prager would
still be welcome there.
Prager has built up a body of work over the years
and he has to be judged like everyone else on the
totality of his work, said Steve Hunegs, executive
director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of
Minnesota and the Dakotas. Nobody is perfect, and if
somebody writes a column that does not necessarily
reflect the community consensus, that doesnt mean
that he is not welcome in the community.
Though he personally disagrees with the substance of
Pragers position, Hunegs said that the JCRC had not
reached out to Ellison on the issue and did not plan
to do so. Hunegss stance seemed to reflect an
undercurrent of tension that remains between Ellison
and some in the Minneapolis Jewish community, despite
extensive dialogue and cooperation on a planned trip
to Israel. Of Ellison, Hunegs said: Hes elected, and
time will tell the course he will take in office. The
reality is, hes our congressman-elect. Hes pledged
to work with us, and weve pledged to work with him.
Officials at both the United Jewish Federation of San
Diego County and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish
Campus Life, both of which have hosted Prager in the
past, declined to comment on Pragers column when
contacted by the Forward.
Its outside our purview, said Jeff Rubin, Hillels
director of communcations. Individual Hillels make
decisions about booking on those campuses. He added,
This issue is outside the realm of college students,
so I dont think were even going to look at it.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago also
declined the Forwards request for comment. Officials
at the Republican Jewish Coalition, which frequently
hosts Prager at its events, did not answer requests
for comment over several days.
In contrast to the reticence of some Jewish leaders,
the Council on American-Islamic Relations has called
for Pragers removal from the United States Holocaust
Memorial Council. President Bush appointed Prager to
the position in August, to serve out a term that ends
in January 2011.
In a letter to the councils chairman, Fred Zeidman,
CAIR executive director Nihad Awad wrote that no one
who holds such bigoted, intolerant and divisive views
should be in a policy-making position at a
taxpayer-funded institution that seeks to educate
Americans about the destructive impact hatred has
had. In the face of a weeks worth of sustained
criticism, Prager offered a solution: Ellison should
use both the Quran and the Bible.
It is not I, but Keith Ellison, who has engaged in
disuniting the country, Prager wrote in an
unrepentant December 5 post. He can still help
reunite it by simply bringing both books to his
ceremonial swearing-in. Had he originally announced
that he would do that, I would have written a
different column filled with praise of him.
Group wants Prager removed from board
By FREDERIC J. FROMMER, Associated Press Writer Wed
Dec 6, 6:33 PM ET
WASHINGTON - An Islamic civil rights group Wednesday
President Bush to rescind the appointment of a U.S.
Holocaust Memorial Museum board member who criticized
an incoming congressman, Keith Ellison, the first
Muslim elected to Congress.
Last week, Dennis Prager, a conservative talk radio
host and columnist, criticized Ellison a Minnesota
Democrat, for choosing to use the Quran, rather than
the Bible, during his ceremonial swearing-in.
"Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to
serve America and uphold its values is concerned,"
Prager wrote in an Internet column, "America is
interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are
incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve
The museum board said this week that Prager's comments
did not reflect the museum's position, but added that
the board "is not self-appointed," and lacked the
power to remove him.
So Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations, sent Bush a letter on
Wednesday asking for Prager's removal.
"If put into practice, Mr. Prager's exclusionary and
intolerant views would permanently marginalize every
minority faith in America and would violate the
constitutional ban on a state-sponsored religion,"
said the letter, a copy of which The Associated Press
The White House had no immediate comment on the
letter. Earlier Wednesday, before the letter was sent,
White House press secretary Tony Snow called the
matter "an issue that the president does not need to
adjudicate and, therefore, will not."
Bush appointed Prager in August to fill the remainder
of a five-year term that expires in January 2011.
In a telephone interview, Prager argued that CAIR was
waging the campaign against him because of critical
things he said about the group, not what he wrote
"CAIR is afraid of me, and that is the reason," he
said. "I never said a word or wrote a word against the
Quran or Islam."
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper responded: "Until this
controversy arose, we were not aware of any reference
Mr. Prager made about CAIR."
Resignation does not make up for Arar's ordeal,
ROD MICKLEBURGH AND OLIVER MOORE
Giuliano Zaccardelli's tenure as commissioner of the
RCMP was no longer tenable given his two "radically
different" statements about the case of Maher Arar, a
lawyer for Mr. Arar said yesterday.
"The contradiction was inexcusable," said Marlys
Edwardh, co-counsel for Mr. Arar at Mr. Justice Dennis
O'Connor's commission of inquiry into the
circumstances of her client's deportation to Syria and
subsequent torture there.
"It is incomprehensible to me how he could give such
different explanations about what he knew and when he
knew it. His resignation comes as no surprise."
In September, Mr. Zaccardelli told a parliamentary
committee that he knew shortly after Mr. Arar's
deportation in 2002 from the United States to Syria
that it had been, in part, because of erroneous
information passed on by the RCMP that the Canadian
software engineer had links to al-Qaeda terrorists.
But this week, the RCMP commissioner changed his
story, saying that he had not known that at all until
Judge O'Connor's extensive report exonerating Mr. Arar
came out a few days earlier in September.
But Ms. Edwardh said Mr. Zaccardelli's resignation
does nothing to address the issue of accountability
for the terrible ordeal suffered by Mr. Arar at the
hands of his Syrian jailers.
She said the RCMP commissioner stepped down only
because of the "political embarrassment" arising from
his changed position on the Arar case, rather than any
sense of accountability.
Mr. Arar, who moved with his family this summer to
Kamloops, B.C., where his wife has a university
teaching position, declined comment on Mr.
Ms. Edwardh said she expects him to give his views at
a news conference tomorrow.
"I don't want to speak for him, but his position all
along has been that the government should hold people
accountable [for what happened]."
So far, she said, no one has been held accountable,
nor has there been any suggestion of discipline for
the RCMP officers who passed on the erroneous
information to U.S. security officials.
Ms. Edwardh said she found it "staggering" that Mr.
Zaccardelli professed not to know that anything was
amiss in the case until the O'Connor report.
"I have no doubt that, for the RCMP, Mr. Arar was an
afterthought. There was not a nano-bit of concern for
his position, being held by military intelligence in a
country with a long record of torture."
The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations
struck a similar note to Ms. Edwardh, urging that Mr.
Zaccardelli's leaving not be seen as a sufficient
response to the Arar affair.
"Accountability goes beyond the resignation of
Zaccardelli. It is critical that all departments,
agencies and individuals involved in Mr. Arar's ordeal
be held accountable," Karl Nickner, executive director
of CAIR-CAN, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, a long-time critic of Mr. Zaccardelli said
his exit should help raise morale at what has become a
beleaguered police force.
Shirley Heafey, who locked horns with the commissioner
while chairing the RCMP's public-complaints
commission, said last night that she found him unable
to grasp the information needed to do his job.
"I would never say that he was lying," she said,
referring to testimony this week from Mr. Zaccardelli
that contradicted his earlier version of events. "He's
sincere but he doesn't get it . . . he just didn't
understand enough . . ."
Ms. Heafey believes that the RCMP was the most
important thing in Mr. Zaccardelli's life, but that
pressure had built since the release of the Arar
report and something had to give.
"I knew that, at some point, something would have to
explode, because of the way things are done at the
RCMP. You can't keep sweeping things under the
Ms. Heafey noted that public concerns about the RCMP
go beyond its management of the Arar case.
She cited specifically the decision to reveal, during
the last election campaign, an investigation into the
then-governing Liberals' handling of their
income-trust decision. She also referred to
Auditor-General Sheila Fraser's criticism of the
administration of the RCMP pension fund in the early
Send instant messages to your online friends http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com
Enloe students questioned Former students say a teacher suspended this week often talked about Christianity Published: Mar 02, 2007 12:30 AM Modified: Mar 02,Mar 3, 2007 1 of 6View SourceEnloe students questioned
Former students say a teacher suspended this week
often talked about Christianity
Published: Mar 02, 2007 12:30 AM
Modified: Mar 02, 2007 03:26 AM
Yonat Shimron, Staff Writer
Students at Enloe High School said they have long
heard the kinds of Christian overtures that got social
studies teacher Robert Escamilla suspended this week.
An 18-year Wake County schools veteran, Escamilla was
suspended with pay while the school system
investigates his invitation of a Christian evangelist
to several of his classrooms Feb. 15. Kamil Solomon, a
Raleigh-based evangelist, denounced Islam and handed
out pamphlets titled, "Jesus not Muhammad, Part I,"
and "Do Not Marry a Muslim Man, Part I."
Enloe students said attorneys for the school system
questioned them Wednesday and Thursday. Schools
spokesman Michael Evans said those inquiries would
conclude today. He could not say when the
investigation would be completed.
"They asked me what my reaction was, what annoyed me
the most, and what I think they should do about it,"
said Saira Butt, an Enloe freshman. "I told the lawyer
[Escamilla] shouldn't be fired, but he should be
prevented" from repeating the incident.
Saira's father, Tariq, a Muslim, was outraged by the
visiting evangelist and contacted several Muslim
Social studies supervisor Marian Johnson, who heard
Solomon speak Feb. 15, sent an e-mail message to
teachers defending the visit as an educational
experience in which students learned how to evaluate
Parents said they appreciated the attention the school
was giving to the incident and awaited the
Reached on his cell phone, Escamilla said he was asked
to not talk to reporters until the investigation was
Former Enloe students say Escamilla has never made a
secret of his Christian beliefs.
"He's always been a very controversial guy at Enloe,"
said Jaime Zea, 18, who graduated last year and said
he bears no grudge against Escamilla. "He's an
opinionated teacher, and he's always pushing the
Others, however, say he might have crossed a
constitutional boundary on some occasions.
Wei-Chun Wang, who took an Advanced Placement European
history class with Escamilla in 2004, said the teacher
brought in a creationist without offering a guest
visitor on evolution.
Students who took the same class in 2000 said
Escamilla showed the movie version of "Left Behind," a
popular apocalyptic Christian fiction series that
tells of the Rapture in which Christ lifts his
followers to heaven before Jesus' eventual return.
Andrea Schrag said that after she graduated in 2000,
Escamilla mailed her a copy of "The Case for Christ,"
a book by popular Christian evangelist Lee Strobel.
"He knew I was Jewish," said Schrag, now a lawyer in
Raleigh. "I was outspoken about that."
Students say Escamilla never coerced them or punished
them for not accepting his beliefs. But he also spoke
Susan Haughney, a 1999 graduate of Enloe, said
Escamilla reprimanded her after class for speaking to
a male student, telling her she was not "acting like a
Christian woman." Haughney is an agnostic.
"I told my parents about it, but I never said anything
at school," said Haughney, who lives in Raleigh. "I
didn't think I'd be heard."
Staff writer Yonat Shimron can be reached at 829-4891
Cop accused of slur against Rep. Ellison
A veteran Minneapolis lieutenant denies implying that
the Fifth District DFLer is a terrorist, but the chief
already has apologized.
By David Chanen and Terry Collins, Star Tribune
Last update: March 01, 2007 9:43 PM
A Minneapolis police lieutenant faces an internal
investigation into recent comments that fellow
officers say implied that U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison is a
The comments allegedly were made during a required
police ethics training class this week by Lt. Bob
Kroll, according to Mayor R.T. Rybak. In a highly
unusual move, Chief Tim Dolan sent an e-mail to all
employees saying the comments were unacceptable and
unflattering to the department. Dolan also issued a
public apology to Ellison, a Democrat from Minneapolis
and the first Muslim elected to Congress.
Kroll, an officer with Minneapolis for 18 years and
vice president of the Police Federation, denied
Thursday that he called Ellison a terrorist or that he
even mentioned him by name during the class. Kroll
will remain on duty during the internal investigation.
He said he'd be "a little smarter than that" -- than
to make such comments with his boss and the deputy
chief of professional standards in the room.
Rybak said the comments are "shockingly ignorant" if
it's true Kroll made them.
On Thursday, Ellison said: "The alleged comments don't
reflect the diversity of our city, or the warm
embracing attitudes of those who live in the Fifth
District. I'm grateful to Mayor Rybak and Chief Dolan
for setting the right tone. The alleged comments don't
reflect the Minneapolis Police Department, who I
respect as well."
A political target
Since Ellison became a candidate for Minnesota's Fifth
Congressional District last year, his religion has
made him a target of accusations from political
opponents. After Ellison was elected in November, a
national talk show host asked him if he was working
with "our enemies."
The exact comments that Kroll made while participating
in the class were not spelled out by Dolan or Rybak.
But two officers present at Tuesday's ethics training
class, who spoke on condition that they not be named,
said Kroll made a remark about "being at war with
Islamic terrorists" and that "one was elected to
Congress." When an officer angered by the comment
asked if he was calling Ellison a terrorist, Kroll
said, "He's Islamic and we are at war with the
Islamic," the two officers said.
In his e-mail, Dolan also wrote that Kroll questioned
the ethics of any city that would hire a city
coordinator convicted of a misdemeanor crime. Kroll
said he made a statement about Rybak's appointments
but never mentioned a specific position. City
Coordinator Steven Bosacker, who had a misdemeanor
conviction of indecent conduct in 2000, declined to
Said Kroll: "I think the chief has been given an
inaccurate account. When the investigation is over,
I'll be cleared of any wrongdoing."
Rybak said he was pleased that Dolan denounced the
comments and demanded that the Police Federation "step
up" and do the same.
"The Federation can't be silent at a critical time,
because these ignorant comments do not reflect the
values of this city," Rybak said.
Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Police
Federation, said the allegations are serious and it
would be unacceptable for anyone, let alone a
federation board member, to say them. He called
Dolan's department-wide e-mail unprecedented, because
the matter is under investigation.
In the e-mail, Dolan said it was appropriate that
classmates challenged Kroll's comments. "As a
department, we must keep ourselves accountable while
adhering to high standards of respect in matters of
diversity," he wrote. "The comment not only offends a
U.S. representative duly elected by the citizens of
Minnesota, but more importantly, it offends our own
officers of Muslim faith."
In February, Kroll finished serving a 20-day
suspension for his involvement in an off-duty fight.
He said the suspension is being appealed.
Alleged incident last year
Council Member Ralph Remington said Thursday that he
was not surprised to hear about Kroll's alleged
"I am surprised, though, that he said it in such an
open venue with so many people present, if this is
true," he said.
Last year, Remington publicly accused Kroll and three
other police union officials of intimidating him
during a meeting at an Uptown restaurant. During the
discussion about council oversight of police,
Remington said the mood quickly turned intense and the
officers' manner was "aggressive and meant to
intimidate." The officers have denied the claim.
Ron Edwards, co-chair of the Police Community
Relations Council, said the recently promoted
lieutenant "has been out of control for a long time
... and he's been rewarded with promotions time and
He concluded that "I seriously think he won't be
ANTI-MUSLIM SLURS: Web words prompt school talk
By Macklin Reid, Ridgefield Press Staff
Mar 2, 2007
Anti-Muslim entries on an Internet social networking
site used by millions of young people nationwide
earned a group of Ridgefield High School students a
frank talk with a flotilla of school administrators.
Were concerned about it, said Ridgefield High
School Principal Jeff Jaslow.
There were certainly some pejoratives directed at the
Islamic religion and Muslims, he said.
Mr. Jaslow declined to relate exactly what was said in
the troubling entries on a Web page posted on the
social networking site Facebook.com.
The offensive content was something to the effect of
the best way to deal with the Middle East is to nuke
it. Thats not the exact wording of it. Then theres
just some lewd kind of stuff, Mr. Jaslow said.
He also said, There were some jingoistic aspects to
some of the comments.
Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Freeston said the
school administration had been alerted to the postings
on a Facebook Web network page by a user who was
We heard from a college-age student in the Midwest, a
concern that there was a Facebook entry with
anti-Muslim sentiment and the people who made the
entry identified themselves as RHS students, Dr.
Mr. Jaslow said he and four other administrators had a
talk with the 10 students who they could determine
It went well. I think it was an important
conversation to have, Mr. Jaslow said.
We informed the students that we had been notified by
people outside the school district that they were
concerned with what theyd seen on the site. And we in
turn were concerned that there was any association of
the high school with this group on Facebook and also
expressed concern about how it might impact the
students down the road, he said.
We informed them of the fact that college admission
officers and prospective employers do access these
sites to see if any prospective candidate for
admission or for a job have participated in anything
along these lines, or just to get a better handle on
the kind of people theyre considering, and that the
students really need to consider the type of impact it
might have along those lines.