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6708Islamophobia in North America

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  • Zafar Khan
    Jun 1, 2006
      Aspers sponsor hate film, say critics
      Tue May 30 2006
      By Carol Sanders


      LAST night's Canadian premiere of the controversial
      documentary Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the
      West was a sellout.

      "People are basically excited about the film," said
      Rabbi Daniel Klatzkow with the Jewish faith group Aish

      Aish, the Winnipeg Zionist Initiative and the Asper
      Foundation sponsored the screening last night at Imax
      in Portage Place. A second screening in the theatre,
      which seats about 300 people, was added for tonight.

      The movie will also be shown in Toronto next month,
      with Canada's Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day
      as a featured guest.

      Local Muslims and some non-Muslims who obtained a copy
      of the film last week said it's hate propaganda that
      promotes intolerance.

      Howard Davidson, who has spent time in the Middle East
      and is a director of aboriginal focus programs at the
      University of Manitoba, attended the screening and
      questioned the intentions of the film and its
      "A huge problem with the film is at no time does the
      film give any explanation for why people would be
      saying these things," said Davidson.

      "If the Asper Foundation is bringing in the film that
      is clearly propaganda and clearly fear-mongering and
      this is the organization that is a leader in the human
      rights museum, that is not only baffling, it's
      astounding. Where is their credibility? Their

      Klatzkow said before last night's screening that he
      believes the film is "an exposé of human rights
      abusers that do not represent the majority of

      "In fact, it is in the interest of all people, in
      particular moderate Muslims, to be aware of the issues
      that the film exposes."

      A Winnipeg police officer and private security guards
      watched over the theatre during the screening.

      The film includes interviews with policy analysts,
      terrorists and journalists. It shows bloody carnage
      from terror attacks and snippets of translated
      speeches from religious leaders and young children.

      "I don't like Jews because they're apes and pigs,"
      says a three-year-old girl on Saudi Iqraa TV.

      "I hope Bush dies in flames and I want to go to Ariel
      Sharon and kill him with a gun and stab him with a
      sword because of the poor Palestinians," said a
      six-year-old on Bahrain's Abu Dhabi TV.
      In a written statement, the Asper Foundation said it
      regularly sponsors "stimulating educational events
      that seek to explore issues of a national and
      international nature. This film has no relationship to
      our development of The Canadian Museum for Human


      Have Your Say
      Tue May 30 2006


      Anti-Muslim propaganda
      Why would the Asper family, which is working so hard
      to establish a human rights museum in Winnipeg,
      sponsor the IMAX screening of Obsession: Radical
      Islam's War Against the West? I saw this awful film
      last Friday. It is a vicious piece of anti-Muslim
      propaganda that comes at you in a steady stream of
      images of violence and of Muslims chanting angry
      threats and shaking their fists. Throughout the film,
      talking heads make assertions that reveal either a
      profound ignorance or crass disregard of the
      socio-political context of these events and a lack of
      critical thought. There is not a single image of the
      multitudes of dispossessed Muslim people who live in
      miserable squalor, nor of the vast majority of
      peaceful, law-abiding Muslims among us who regularly
      must deal with racism in their everyday lives.
      Instead, there is some black-and-white footage of a
      sheik meeting with Hitler, and from that the dire
      assertion that radical Islam is today's Naziism.

      As I understand it, the purpose of the human rights
      museum is to remember many human rights abuses and
      struggles and, thereby, stimulate reflection and
      promote understanding of the roots of hate and
      violence and their terrible personal and social costs.
      Why then, I ask, would the Aspers promote a film that
      can only breed intolerance and, worse still, provoke
      violence against Muslims in their own community?


      Incitement: 'Rock Against Islam' Concert in Oregon
      Source: Oregonian


      One of the three men convicted in the 1988 Southeast
      Portland killing of Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw
      was arrested Friday on accusations that he violated
      his parole by contacting members of a white
      supremacist group, authorities said.

      Kyle Brewster, 36, was arrested without incident
      during a routine visit with his parole officer Friday
      morning. He was booked into the Multnomah County
      Detention Center with no bail allowed. . .

      Brewster's MySpace.com Web site contains racist
      writings and shows a photo of him with a known
      Volksfront member who was wearing a Volksfront
      T-shirt, Freda-Cowie said.

      Volksfront has been associated with numerous crimes in
      the Northwest. In 2003, Volksfront members murdered a
      homeless man in Tacoma. The group has created fliers
      promoting a July 4th weekend "Rock Against Islam"
      campout and party somewhere in northern Oregon
      featuring the bands Aggressive Force, Frontline and
      Jew Slaughter.

      Judge sides with Muslim in Ramadan scarf lawsuit
      By Howard Fischer
      Capitol Media Services
      Tucson, Arizona | Published: 05.31.2006


      PHOENIX — A national car rental firm illegally
      discriminated against a Muslim woman in the wake of
      9/11 by refusing to let her wear a scarf during the
      holy month of Ramadan, a federal judge has ruled.
      U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver rejected arguments
      by Alamo Rent-A-Car that it could not exempt Bilan Nur
      from its corporate dress code. Silver said the company
      made no efforts to reasonably accommodate Nur's
      beliefs and failed to show that making any
      accommodations would have caused the company undue
      In fact, Silver noted that the company's regional
      manager admitted under questioning that the only
      hardship Alamo might suffer is the image that the firm
      has with customers.
      Nur's claim was among the first filed by EEOC dealing
      with anti-Muslim discrimination after the terrorist
      Silver's ruling means that the only issue to be
      determined is how much the company will need to pay
      the woman, who has since left Arizona.
      Mary Jo O'Neill, regional attorney for the U.S. Equal
      Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed suit on
      Nur's behalf, said her agency is seeking lost pay,
      other compensatory damages and punitive damages.
      O'Neill said the commission is seeking a punitive
      award because the evidence shows that the decision to
      deny Nur the right to wear a head scarf was not made
      solely by the manager of the Phoenix office where she
      worked. O'Neill said this decision went to corporate
      offices as well as the firm's attorney.
      "They should have known" about the requirements of
      federal law, O'Neill said.
      A spokesman for Alamo refused to comment, saying the
      litigation is still an open issue.
      O'Neill said there is a link: She said Nur, who had
      worked for Alamo since 1999, had been allowed to wear
      a scarf during Ramadan in two prior years.
      It was only during Ramadan of 2001 —three months after
      the attacks — that Nur was told she could not wear a
      scarf while waiting on customers. O'Neill said Nur
      even offered to wear an Alamo scarf but was rebuffed.
      She eventually was fired.
      O'Neill said federal law does generally recognize the
      right of companies to have a policy of what employees
      can and cannot wear. But she said that is not
      "When it comes to religion you have to bend a little,"
      she said.
      For example, she cited another EEOC lawsuit against
      Blockbuster Video which had refused to let a Jewish
      employee wear a yarmulke. The company had a policy
      against letting workers wear headgear.
      "Well, a yarmulke is not the same as a baseball cap,"
      O'Neill said.
      "Businesses have to recognize that when there's a
      religious belief or practice, that they need to bend
      unless there's a darn good reason why they can't."
      Nur, a Somali immigrant, has moved to Minneapolis.
      In a statement released through the EEOC, Nur said she
      was pleased by Silver's ruling.
      "No person should ever have to be forced to choose
      between her religion and her job," the statement read.
      Nur said Alamo was willing to accommodate her before
      the 9/11 attacks. "Then something changed," she said.
      In its response to the lawsuit, Alamo argued that
      federal law does not require companies to accommodate
      a worker's religious beliefs if it would impose undue
      hardship. And that has been defined by the courts to
      mean some financial burden beyond minimal costs.
      But Silver said the company's assertion of hardship
      was based merely on speculation.
      For example, the judge noted that Alamo said
      accommodating Nur would open the door to other
      workers' violating dress code. But Heather Phillips,
      the company's western regional manager, could identify
      Instead, Phillips acknowledged during questioning that
      the only hardship on Alamo would be customers' image
      of the company.

      Arab-sounding immig? Wait 1,001 nites
      Daily News Exclusive


      The World Trade Center site was still a raw mound of
      twisted steel and debris when Muhammad Jawwad applied
      for naturalization in November 2001.

      Less than a year later, he was called for both his
      test and interview - the final step before he was to
      be sworn in shortly afterward as a U.S. citizen.

      "I remember the woman asking me, 'Why is your name
      Muhammad?'" said Jawwad, 46, a health insurance
      enrollment caseworker at Coney Island Hospital who
      came from Pakistan 11 years ago. "I told her that's
      what my parents put down on my birth certificate."

      Jawwad, whose wife and kids already have become
      citizens, has waited 3-1/2 years for his swearing in
      even though immigration officials are required to
      complete the process within 120 days of the interview.
      They say the holdup is his FBI clearance.

      Immigrant advocates say hundreds - if not thousands -
      of men with Arabic-sounding or Muslim names are
      experiencing endless delays in what should be the pro
      forma final step of the citizenship application

      "I understand the burden that the government has in
      wanting to make sure that all security checks go
      through," said Dev Viswanath, a Queens attorney who
      said he has two clients who have waited years for
      their swearing-in ceremonies. "But having to wait two
      or three years ... is just ridiculous."

      Azhar Sajawal was unable to join the Police Academy in
      January because his name was placed on hold by the FBI
      - delaying his swearing-in ceremony for a year. At the
      time of enrollment, a cadet is required to be a U.S.

      "I passed the NYPD exam, I even passed their
      background check, eye exam, plus the hearing exam and
      other medical exams," said Sajawal, 26, of Elmhurst,
      Queens. "I just want to serve this city. I want to be
      a cop."

      Mohammed Nasser, 34, an advertising writer for
      Citibank, has been afraid to travel for a year now,
      fearing that he'll be called in for his naturalization
      ceremony and miss the notice.

      "I want to know that my papers are okay and they're
      being looked at," said Nasser, who lives in Astoria,
      and hails from Egypt.

      Last month, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
      Committee launched a national legal campaign to get
      the government to resolve hundreds of cases. More than
      40 lawyers filed lawsuits in federal courts,
      requesting that a judge step in and force U.S.
      Citizenship and Immigration Services to complete the
      stalled naturalization cases.

      In response, CIS decided it will stop interviewing
      people whose FBI background checks have not cleared.

      Bill Carter, an FBI spokesman, said the delays began
      in 2002, when CIS booted 2.7 million names of
      applicants back to the FBI for additional checks,
      causing a backlog.

      "It's a very complicated process - it involves dozens
      of agencies and often foreign governments," said
      Carter, adding that only 1% of citizenship applicants
      have had to wait more than the 120 days.

      Mohammed Razvi, the executive director of the
      Brooklyn-based Council of Peoples Organization, said
      he is working with more than two dozen men who don't
      know what else to do to finalize their citizenship

      "These are people who did everything that they were
      asked to do," Razvi said. "We're holding back our new

      Originally published on May 28, 2006

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