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Islamophobia in America

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  • Zafar Khan
    http://www.islamawareness.net/Islamophobia/America/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Arab-American men freed in cell phone case Judge says
    Message 1 of 52 , Sep 7 1:06 PM
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      http://www.islamawareness.net/Islamophobia/America/
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Arab-American men freed in cell phone case
      Judge says there was no terror plot
      September 5, 2006
      BY NIRAJ WARIKOO
      FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

      http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060905/NEWS99/60905046

      A federal judge has thrown out all charges against
      three Texas men who were arrested last month in Caro,
      Michigan, after buying hundreds of cell phones,
      according to their defense attorney Nabih Ayad.
      Investigators initially suspected the men may have
      links to terrorism and were possibly targeting the
      Mackinac Bridge.

      State prosecutors slapped them with terrorism charges,
      but soon dropped them. Federal prosecutors then
      charged them with operating a counterfeit operation.
      On Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Binder
      dismissed the federal charges of conspiring to traffic
      in counterfeit goods and carrying out an unlawful
      activity involving a financial transaction. He made
      the decision after a court hearing Tuesday that
      featured FBI testimony, Ayad said.

      The judge also canceled their bond, Ayad said. The
      Texas men -- brothers Adham Othman, 21, of Dallas and
      Louai Othman, 23, of Mesquite, and their cousin Awad
      Muhareb, 18, also of Mesquite -- are now free.

      "It's a victory for justice and for the Middle Eastern
      community," said Ayad, their attorney.

      Ayad and Arab-American groups said the men, who are
      Palestinian-American, were targeted because of their
      Arab background.

      The men bought hundreds of cell phones that they had
      intended to resell at a profit, Ayad said. They were
      arrested after a suspicious store clerk alerted
      police.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Freed Mackinac Bridge suspects seek apology
      Doug Guthrie / The Detroit News
      Wednesday, September 06, 2006

      http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060906/UPDATE/609060431



      DEARBORN HEIGHTS -- A demand for an apology was made
      Wednesday on behalf of three Arab-American men from
      Texas, arrested and accused last month in Caro of a
      terrorist plot to attack the Mackinac Bridge.

      Charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit
      fraud by trafficking counterfeit goods were dismissed
      Tuesday after a hearing in federal court in Bay City.
      Terror charges had been dismissed in Tuscola County on
      Aug. 16.

      "We are grateful all charges have been dropped," said
      their lawyer, Nabih Ayad of Dearborn Heights. "But
      these men were the victims of racial profiling and
      there will forever be a stigma attached to them. Some
      people will continue to define them by what the
      government did."

      Ayad held up a newspaper front page with a photo of
      23-year-old Louai Othman being led into a courtroom,
      handcuffed and wearing the orange jumpsuit of a
      prisoner. The trio was jailed for 12 days before being
      released on bond. The cell phones they bought and a
      laptop computer have yet to be returned by
      authorities.

      Ayad said they're considering a civil lawsuit.

      The trio answered questions Wednesday morning at a
      press conference hosted at their lawyer's office. They
      expected to catch a midday flight from Metro Airport
      back home to Dallas, Texas.

      "It seemed appropriate to hold this conference here
      because it is the center of the largest Arabic
      population in the United States, a community that is
      calling for this sort of thing to stop," said Ayad.

      They had traveled through 20 states, buying almost
      1,000 pre-programmed cellular telephones from Wal-Mart
      stores. They had hoped to make as much as $10 per
      phone when reselling them on the street back in Texas.

      The men said Wednesday that they had been stopped and
      questioned in Wisconsin, and were told by authorities
      there that they were doing nothing illegal.

      "We were making money and traveling and having a great
      time," said Adham Othman, 18. "That's the American
      way, right?

      They were arrested and charged by Tuscola County
      authorities under state anti-terrorism laws. The
      federal charges were filed against them on the same
      day that the local charges were dropped.

      As for the reason they took photos of the Mackinac
      Bridge?

      "I'm from Texas. I'd never seen a bridge that big
      before," Louai Othman said. "They (prosecutors) didn't
      say anything about the other pictures we took, the
      ones of the ducks and geese and trees. Michigan is a
      very pretty state."

      All three said they hope to return to school when they
      get home.

      Louai Othman, 23, has a wife, Lina, and 3-month-old
      daughter, Layla. He was studying telecommunications
      and computer engineering at Eastfield Community
      College.

      His brother Adham, 21, said he wants to go to college
      to become an engineer. Marvan Muhrab, 18, said he is
      undecided about his future, but knows he has to go to
      college to "amount to anything."

      Adham Othman was the only one to have been born in the
      Middle East.

      "I was born in Jerusalem, but my parents brought me
      here very soon and I have been back only once, when I
      was a kid. I'm an American," he said.

      Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab
      Anti-Discrimination Committee, said "We want to
      government to do its job, but they should only act
      when there is real evidence. This case emphasizes the
      kind of fear that has thrown a shadow of suspicion
      over our entire community."

      You can reach Doug Guthrie at (734) 462-2674 or
      dguthrie@....
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      A Lone Man’s Stunt Raises Broader Issues
      By KATIE ZEZIMA
      Published: September 5, 2006

      http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/05/us/05maine.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

      LEWISTON, Me. — On a hot July night, a few dozen
      Somali men were kneeling shoulder to shoulder in
      prayer at a storefront mosque here when the door
      opened and the frozen head of a pig, an animal
      considered unclean in Islam, rolled across the floor.

      Men fled in fear. A child fainted. Some called the
      police and ran after the person who had rolled the
      head in. A suspect, Brent Matthews, was quickly
      apprehended and charged with desecrating a place of
      worship. Mr. Matthews, 33, said that the incident was
      a prank and that he did not know the significance of a
      pig’s head.

      Now, weeks later, Somali leaders say the incident has
      left a scar on their community of about 3,000
      immigrants.

      While they admit the act was the work of one man, it
      has heightened simmering tensions in this
      overwhelmingly white, working-class city of 35,000,
      where Somali refugees started flocking about five
      years ago, after first settling in more urban areas of
      the United States. Many said they came here because
      housing was inexpensive and Lewiston seemed a safe
      place to raise their families.

      While much of Lewiston has been welcoming, some
      Somalis here believe the head incident reveals an
      undercurrent of suspicion and lack of understanding
      about their culture. According to the Census Bureau,
      Maine is 96 percent white.

      “We’re not saying all of Lewiston is part of this,”
      said Imam Nuh Iman, leader of the mosque, the
      Lewiston-Auburn Islamic Center. “But this is the
      biggest impact you can have on a mosque, in the time
      of praying, to put in a pig’s head. It could have been
      a goat’s head, or a cow’s head. But it was a pig’s
      head.”

      Phil Nadeau, the assistant city administrator,
      believes the incident was isolated but underscored the
      growing pains this city — whose mills and shoe
      factories, now closed, welcomed French-Canadian
      workers a century ago — is now going through.

      “I think it’s a reflection of where we are right now.
      There’s a small group of people that will never accept
      this type of change in their community, ever,” said
      Mr. Nadeau, whose French-Canadian grandmother spoke
      only five words of English. “The second wave of
      non-English speakers to Lewiston is now the Somali
      population.”

      Hussein Ahmed, 31, said the mosque incident came as
      Somalis here felt that they had finally started to
      move on from a 2002 open letter written by Laurier
      Raymond, then the mayor, which asked them to stop
      other Somalis from coming to the city. Mr. Raymond
      contended in his letter that the city was “maxed-out
      financially, physically and emotionally.”

      Somali leaders quickly condemned Mr. Raymond after the
      letter, saying he was “bent toward bigotry.” Mr.
      Raymond met with Somali leaders but did not apologize.
      Three months later, a white supremacist group held a
      rally in Lewiston but was overshadowed by a
      counter-rally that drew 4,500 people.

      The incident with the pig’s head brought a similar
      response. About 150 people, including Gov. John
      Baldacci, a Democrat, and leaders of other faiths,
      gathered at a park shortly after the incident to
      condemn it and to support the Somali community.

      “After we heard about what happened at the mosque,
      many of us in the local interfaith clergy group felt
      that an attack on anybody’s house of worship is an
      attack on all houses of worship,” said Rabbi Hillel
      Katzir of Temple Shalom Synagogue Center in nearby
      Auburn. “This is not O.K. This is not approved of by
      the majority of the community. He might think it’s
      funny, but the rest of us don’t, and it’s not
      acceptable.”

      Mr. Ahmed, who spoke at the rally, said it affirmed
      his trust in residents of Lewiston. “The message was
      clear: they don’t tolerate hate,” he said.

      Mr. Nadeau said that Somalis continued to flock to
      Lewiston, about 30 miles north of Portland, and that
      the city was struggling to find jobs for them. The
      city is also trying to educate residents about the
      Somali culture and Islam.

      “There’s still a kind of unknown element relative to
      people’s familiarity with their culture and religion
      that is still being felt, even to this day,” Mr.
      Nadeau said.

      Mr. Matthews’s lawyer, James Howaniec, said his client
      had intended to play a prank. Mr. Howaniec said Mr.
      Matthews got the head from a pig roast in June and had
      originally planned to use it for target practice. Mr.
      Matthews then decided to plant it outside the center,
      thinking it was simply a gathering place, the lawyer
      said.

      “He did not know it was a place of worship,” Mr.
      Howaniec said. “There’s certainly nothing in the
      exterior of the dilapidated storefront that would lead
      anyone to believe it was a place of worship. He is
      insistent that he did not know the significance of a
      pig’s head to the Muslim community.”

      Mr. Howaniec said that Mr. Matthews was trying to
      create a disruption at the center, but that it was not
      a crime.

      “It’s our position that while it was an act of
      stupidity, it did not rise to the level of any sort of
      crime, let alone a hate crime,” Mr. Howaniec said.
      “It’s clearly not something he’s proud of, but as an
      attorney looking at criminal statutes, I don’t think
      it rises to the level of desecration of a place of
      worship.”

      Judge Ellen Gorman of Androscoggin County Superior
      Court on Aug. 31. granted the state’s request for a
      temporary injunction, ordering Mr. Matthews to stay
      150 feet from the mosque.

      At the hearing Mr. Matthews said that he had planned
      to put the head outside “where the dark people
      congregate” as a joke, and that it had slipped from
      his hand and rolled inside. He said he felt bad about
      the incident and wished he “could turn back time.”

      Mr. Matthews will be indicted on criminal charges
      Sept. 6, and Mr. Howaniec said he was expecting a jury
      trial. If convicted, Mr. Matthews could face up to a
      year in jail on the desecration charge and up to
      $5,000 in fines.

      Imam Iman said he wanted his worshippers to feel
      comfortable where they lived.

      “Most people feel welcome,” the imam said, “but after
      these incidents, not at all. Mainers have to
      understand that this is the new Maine.”
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    • Zafar Khan
      Islamophobia: A Call to Confronting a Creeping Disease First Published 2007-03-30 http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/opinion/?id=20200 The last time a
      Message 52 of 52 , Apr 8, 2007
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        Islamophobia: A Call to Confronting a Creeping Disease
        First Published 2007-03-30

        http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/opinion/?id=20200

        The last time a world religion was considered a
        problem and a question was in late-nineteenth-century
        Europe. Then, the eJewish Questionf was widely
        debated by both the enlightened and bigots among
        European thinkers, says Louay Safi.


        President Bush reacting to the unearthing of the
        alleged bombing plot over the Atlantic August 10
        remarked: "This nation is at war with Islamic fascists
        who will use any means to destroy those of us who love
        freedom, to hurt our nation."

        On Aug. 7, during a press conference from his ranch in
        Texas, he said terrorists "try to spread their
        jihadist message - a message I call ... Islamic
        radicalism, Islamic fascism". A moment later, he said
        "Islamo-fascism" was an "ideology that is real and
        profound". White House spokesman Tony Snow told the
        gAtlanta Journal-Constitutionh Aug. 11 that the
        president will continue to use the phrase.

        This is not the first time that Bush and members of
        his Administration have used this deliberate coupling
        of Islam with evil ideologies or actions, such as
        fascism or terrorism. Bush referred to
        gIslamo-fascismh in his address to the National
        Endowment for Democracy, Oct. 6, 2005. Sen. Rick
        Santorum (R-PA) addressing Christians United for
        Israel (CUFI) held their first Washington-Israel
        Summit in Washington D.C., July 2006, declaring
        gIslamic fascism is a mosaicch

        Media baron Rupert Murdoch pontificated in Sydney,
        Australia June 26, 2006: "You have to be careful about
        Muslims who have a very strong, in many ways a fine,
        but very strong religion which supercedes any sense of
        nationalism wherever they go."

        The term is coined, and was initially used, by radical
        Zionist pundits and their allies in the Far Right, and
        is intended to drive a wedge between Western and
        Muslim communities. The fact that it is already being
        used by President Bush and his top lieutenant
        underscore the extent to which Islamophobia is
        gradually creeping into public discourse.

        Blaming Islam and Muslims for the rise of terrorism
        that threatens the U.S. and the West is at the heart
        of the strategy developed by individuals and groups
        whose systemic attacks on Islam and Muslims, borne out
        of either ignorance or hatred, constitute the recent
        and painful reality : Islamophobia.

        Islamophobia reflects an attitude and a posture
        normally associated with the Far Right, but that has
        been creeping slowly to the center of political
        debate. Islam and Muslims are separated out from the
        citizenry and increasingly presented as a problem to
        be addressed and a question to be tackled. The last
        time a world religion was considered a problem and a
        question was in late-nineteenth-century Europe. Then,
        the gJewish Questionh was widely debated by both the
        enlightened and bigots among European thinkers.

        Islamophobia is a strategic weapon in the campaign to
        marginalize Muslim Americans by ideological extremists
        and paranoid bigots. On one level, Islamophobia stems
        from ignorance, deception, and misrepresentation. On a
        deeper level, however, it stems from a very basic
        human instinct to dominate, exploit, and abuse,
        combined with a scrupulous attitude that refuse to
        recognize moral principles and boundaries. While
        Islamophobia has existed since centuries, perhaps the
        term became public in Europe in the 1990s.

        The twentieth century witnessed great struggles all
        over the world to overcome bigotry and racism, and to
        create more open and inclusive societies in which
        different races, ethnicities, and religions live
        side-by-side and cooperate for the betterment of
        society. After many devastating tragedies and wars,
        including two world wars that wiped out more than 80
        million people, a holocaust, and a long civil rights
        struggle, chauvinism, racism, and bigotry were finally
        condemned, though not totally rejected. By the
        mid-twentieth century, the concept that individuals
        must be treated on the basis of their individual
        characters and actions, and that no individual or
        group should be targeted on the basis of religious,
        ethnic, racial, or national affiliations became widely
        accepted.

        Therefore, the recent efforts that aim at presenting
        Islam as a challenge and Muslims who practice their
        faith as a problem are both disheartening and
        disquieting. They represent a dangerous move to
        reverse human progress and return to the age of
        outright racism and intolerance. This renewed focus on
        Islam as a problem has been justified by invoking
        security concerns. Many voices, particularly within
        the U.S. policymaking community, either out of
        ignorance or prejudice, decided to place the blame for
        terrorism squarely at the door of Islam.

        The decision to ignore complex and painful realities
        that give rise to discord and tension between Western
        and Muslim countries, and to blame it all on a major
        world religion and its practitioners, will only
        exacerbate an already dire situation. This exercise in
        self-delusion can only distract us from confronting
        the real sources of the concerns on both sides and
        delay the efforts to bring forth a permanent and
        lasting solution. Meanwhile, tremendous resources are
        wasted, and the credibility and prestige of the United
        States are being undermined.

        The failure to understand the profound changes taking
        place in the Muslim world is not simply a matter of
        ignorance and lack of insight into Muslim cultures,
        but a reflection of the bewildering stubbornness of
        neoconservative analysts in the U.S. and Europe, and
        their comfort in employing the archaic Orientalist
        attitudes and tools to analyze relationships between
        the West and the Muslim world. Muslims are not awarded
        the dignity of equal human beings with intrinsic
        values and legitimate concerns, but are often
        presented as thoughtless and violent masses incapable
        of articulating their conditions and solving their
        problems. Consequently, no effort is made to initiate
        dialogue and exchange, and all energy is focused on
        devising strategies for the manipulation and control
        of the Muslim world.

        Many self-proclaimed experts on Islam continue to
        behave as if Islam and Muslims are a distant part of
        reality and an external problem to address, rather
        than partners for dealing with common problems and
        challenges. An increasing number of Muslims are proud
        Americans, serving American society as professors,
        businessmen, medical doctors, engineers, lawyers,
        sports stars, firefighters, police officers, and
        teachers. Many experts in Middle East and Islamic
        Studies departments have their ancestral roots in
        Middle Eastern and Muslim cultures. Many Muslim
        Americans are active in the debate on how best to
        bridge the divide, or at least change the perceptions
        of a divide, between the Muslim world and the West.

        Muslim Americans are well positioned to expose the
        deceptions of power hungry unilateralists, and bridge
        the divide between Muslim and Western countries. They
        equally reject the bigoted spirit of exclusivist
        ideologies that use religion in all its forms as a
        weapon for achieving political supremacy, and demonize
        and dehumanize political opponents. Muslim Americans
        should take a firm and resolute stance against
        individuals and groups that use violence and terror
        against civilians in the name of religion, and condemn
        all campaigns of terrorism by groups like al-Qaeda, as
        they do condemn those who justify violence and
        aggression against Muslims in the name of biblical
        prophecies and religious supremacy.

        The time has come for the world to undertake a
        profound shift in political thinking and practice,
        similar to the one achieved in Europe in modern times.
        A democratic and free Europe came to life when the
        feudal system that privileged a small class of
        European elites was rejected and replaced with a
        system based on political equality and the rule of
        law. A democratic and free world will be achieved when
        the current political structure that perpetuates
        political and economic disparity is replaced with one
        in which all are equally treated under international
        law, and have fairly equal access to international
        organizations.

        For two centuries, America has shown that it is
        capable of transcending its limitations and marching
        behind those who struggle to realize the ideals of
        freedom, justice, and equality. And throughout its
        history, America stood behind those who fought for
        equal rights and equal dignity against self-centered
        groups that wanted to preserve their privileges.
        American Muslims must take a firm stand against the
        militant Religious Right that is bent on denying them
        the equal dignity they deserve. As long as they uphold
        the values of freedom, justice, and equal dignity for
        all, and reach out to other fellow Americans who share
        with them deep commitment to these values, they are
        destined, with the grace of God, to defeat the
        unscrupulous and mean-spirited attacks led by hate
        mongers and religious bigots.

        Dr. Louay M. Safi writes and lectures on issues
        relating to Islam, American Muslims, democracy, and
        human rights, leadership, and world peace. His
        commentaries are available at his Blog: Insight.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        'Anti-Muslim rhetoric' cited after vandalism at mosque
        in UA area
        By Stephanie Innes
        Arizona Daily Star
        Tucson, Arizona | Published: 04.05.2007

        http://www.azstarnet.com/metro/176940

        Officials with the Islamic Center of Tucson say a
        recent rise in "anti-Muslim rhetoric" may have spurred
        vandalism at the University of Arizona-area mosque.

        Tucson Police Department detectives are investigating
        a Sunday-night break-in at the mosque during which
        someone smashed the lock on a side door, broke an
        office window, ransacked the office and wrote "Bush
        was here" in magic marker across a computer screen.
        Nothing was stolen, mosque officials said.

        Mosque spokesman Muhammad As'ad said officials don't
        know if Sunday's incident is related to the theft of
        $1,000 from the mosque two months ago. The money
        disappeared after funds collected during a Friday
        service weren't immediately deposited at the bank,
        As'ad said.
        He said it's possible Sunday's break-in was a hate
        crime.
        "There's an increasing obsession with Islam that's
        been stirred up by a small cadre of people," he said.
        "The obsession is growing because of events overseas.
        We deplore the hate speech going on. After all,
        Muslims, like Christians, are encouraged to love their
        neighbors."
        As'ad said an example of the "anti-Muslim rhetoric"
        was former CNN reporter Steven Emerson's December
        lecture at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Though
        he denied the accusations, local Muslims accused
        Emerson of being a disingenuous "fear-monger" who
        carelessly interchanges the words "Muslim" and
        "terrorist."
        Emerson spoke here as part of the UA's Shaol Pozez
        Memorial Lectureship Series, sponsored by the
        university's Center for Judaic Studies. The title of
        his speech was "The Grand Deception: Militant Islam,
        the Media and the West." Emerson contends that groups
        representing themselves as mainstream Muslims often
        have terrorist ties.
        As'ad said in addition to the Emerson talk, he's
        noticed anti-Muslim attitudes on local radio talk
        shows. He stressed that, in general, the Tucson
        community has been supportive of the local Muslim
        community following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist
        attacks, though there have been incidents of
        name-calling, particularly involving local women
        wearing head scarves, in which people told them to "go
        home."
        The Arizona Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic
        Relations wants the FBI to investigate the mosque
        break-in. FBI officials said they're aware of the
        incident and are in regular contact with the mosque,
        but there's no active investigation.
        œ Contact reporter Stephanie Innes at 573-4134 or at
        sinnes@....
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Muslim Workers Leave Goldfn Plump Over Prayer Time
        Dispute
        Apr 04, 2007 -- 10:59 AM CDT
        Abdi Aynte

        http://www.minnesotamonitor.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=1549

        For eight months, Issak Horor delayed his floating
        break time to say his dusk prayers. That was until
        Sunday, when his employer, Goldfn Plump, a St.
        Cloud-based chicken processing company, told him that
        he wasnft eligible to do that anymore.

        gI told them that God made me eligible to pray five
        times a day,h said Horor in a telephone interview
        from his home in Rochester.

        Horor, 25, is one of three workers who left the
        companyfs Arcadia, Wis., facility Monday over the
        prayer time dispute. At least two other workers quit
        in solidarity with their fellow Muslims.

        Horor said he feels he was forced out. gThey asked me
        to not delay my break time or to hand in my badge,h
        he said. gHaving bad and worse options, I chose the
        bad one: to hand in my badge.h

        Julie Berling, a spokeswoman for Goldfn Plump, said
        the company was able to accommodate most workers who
        needed to pray with a new floating schedule.

        gHowever, due to unavoidable production line
        limitations, a few employees were put on the waiting
        list for a floating break schedule,h Berling said in
        an e-mail message.

        Horor said his employer failed to understand that his
        strict prayer schedule canft be put on a waiting
        list.

        The case is the latest in a series of workplace and
        religion collisions involving pious Muslims. A cashier
        at Target recently refused to scan pork products for
        customers, and some cabbies at the airport were
        shunning passengers with alcohol. Islam bans the
        consumption of pork and alcohol.

        Horor and other workers who left the company worked
        the night shift -- the shift with the least prayer
        requirements in the Muslim faith. He said the only
        prayer he needed to say during his shift was the dusk
        prayer, but his scheduled break fell at 1 a.m. in the
        morning. Goldfn Plump allowed him and other Muslim
        workers to delay that break until 6 a.m., when the
        dusk prayer is due.

        On April 1, the company issued a new policy that
        continued that culture for most employees. Horor and a
        few others were left out. gThough we assured these
        few employees that we were committed to accommodating
        their needs, they were unwilling to give us the time
        necessary to accommodate them and voluntarily resigned
        from their positions,h Berling said.

        Under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employers are
        required to provide a reasonable accommodation of
        their employees' religious observations, unless that
        creates an undue hardship to the business. Itfs not
        clear whether that law was violated in this case. Just
        last month, new legislation that would make it easier
        for employees to practice their faith in the workplace
        was introduced in the Congress.

        gI donft think itfs reasonable to ask employees to
        not pray for a while,h said Valerie Shirley,
        communications director for the Minnesota chapter of
        the Council on American Islamic Relations, which is
        handling the case. She said she is trying to speak
        with Goldfn Plump officials about the matter and to
        supply them with gAn Employer's Guide to Islamic
        Religious Practices," a booklet about Muslims in the
        workplace.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Employee Dispute Leads To Complaint Against BMW
        Harassment Complaint Follows 'Religious' Dispute

        POSTED: 4:56 pm EDT April 3, 2007
        UPDATED: 3:23 pm EDT April 4, 2007

        http://www.wyff4.com/news/11512955/detail.html

        GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A Muslim civil rights group says
        BMW ignored religious harassment between employees,
        but WYFF News 4 has learned that there is more to this
        story.

        News 4's Gordon Dill has been looking into the
        complaint -- a fight between an Israeli Christian and
        a Muslim. Both men were contract workers at BMW.

        The 65-year-old Muslim man told deputies he was
        washing his hands in the bathroom at BMW when the
        41-year-old Israeli man put a box cutter to his throat
        and threatened to kill him.

        The Muslim man then called the Council on
        American-Islamic Relations and said there was a
        pattern of harassment by BMW employees.

        According to a spokesman, the council had received
        reports of other incidents not only involving the
        Israeli man but other employees as well.

        But the Israeli man and his alleged victim may have
        known each other for years.

        The Muslim man's nephew and that same Israeli man were
        business partners in a Duncan restaurant and as far
        back as 1996, there was a police report alleging that
        one man punched the other.

        In its official statement, BMW alluded to that
        relationship.

        The statement said, "... It appears the two
        individuals have a long personal history, including
        being business partners in the past."

        WYFF News 4 tried contacting that alleged victim and
        his nephew, but they didn't return calls.

        Dill did find the Israeli man, who said he couldn't
        appear on camera or even reveal where he lives because
        he fears Muslims will "put a bomb on his porch."

        "This isn't about BMW. It's about religion," the man
        said.

        BMW said it has started its own investigation

        The Council on American-Islamic Relations has asked
        the FBI to start its own hate crime investigation.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Islamic group wants BMW plant incident investigated as
        hate crime
        The Associated Press

        http://charlotte.com/205/story/73046.html

        GREER, S.C. --A Muslim man at the BMW plant in Greer
        told authorities a co-worker threatened to cut his
        throat, prompting a national Islamic group to ask the
        incident be investigated as a possible hate crime.

        Abdulwahab Ahmed, 65, said a man approached him in a
        restroom at the plant and held a box cutter to his
        throat, according to a Spartanburg County sheriff's
        report.

        The man, whose name was removed from the report, told
        Ahmed that he would kill him before making a slashing
        motion as he lifted the box cutter from Ahmed's neck,
        the report said.

        The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Ahmed
        also claims other plant employees repeatedly made
        anti-Muslim comments, including a statement that
        Muslims "should all be killed."

        "There have been a number of comments based on the
        alleged victims' religion," CAIR spokesman Ibrahim
        Hooper said. "We call on authorities and the FBI to
        investigate this disturbing incident as a possible
        hate crime."

        A message left for Ahmed at his home was not
        immediately returned Tuesday.

        Authorities are not calling the incident a hate crime
        at this point, but are investigating, sheriff's
        spokesman Maj. Dan Johnson said.

        FBI spokesman Tom O'Neill refused to say if federal
        agents are investigating.

        BMW said the two men involved in the bathroom incident
        were employees of a plant subcontractor, were business
        partners in the past and had a long personal history.

        "BMW security is cooperating with our subcontractor
        and the Sheriff's Department to ensure the continuing
        safe working environment of all personnel at the BMW
        plant," public relations manager Bobby Hitt said in a
        statement.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Mosque: Graffito may be hate crime
        RYN GARGULINSKI
        Tucson Citizen

        http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/47067.php

        Intruders targeted a Tucson mosque Sunday, the second
        time in less than two months, said mosque officials,
        who are starting to ask questions.
        "We are beginning to wonder if this is a hate crime,"
        said Muhammad As'ad, spokesman for the Islamic Center
        of Tucson, where the crimes took place.

        The latest incident at the center at 901 E. First St.,
        near the University of Arizona campus, was a
        ransacking of the mosque office, according to a news
        release Tuesday from the Arizona chapter of the
        Council on American-Islamic Relations.
        A message - "Bush was here" - was hand-written with a
        marker on a computer monitor, the release said.
        Tucson police confirmed the mosque reported a burglary
        Monday and the incident is under investigation.
        Two months ago, thieves broke into the mosque and
        stole about $1,000, the release said.
        The only TPD report that coincided with that date was
        an embezzlement reported Feb. 17, a TPD spokesman
        said. No information on that report was available
        Tuesday.
        CAIR-AZ civil rights director Mohammed AbuHannoud said
        the council has asked the FBI to assist in the TPD
        investigation, but the FBI has no record of the
        request, an FBI spokeswoman said.
        Deborah McCarley said the FBI had no record of
        CAIR-AZ's request, adding that just because "Bush was
        here" was scrawled on a computer monitor does not
        automatically classify the incident as a hate crime.
        "I don't know if that in and by itself would make it a
        hate crime," she said Tuesday. "I know of no
        investigation that we're involved in at this time.
        "It's unfortunate when any mosque or church is
        vandalized," McCarley added, "but it's not always a
        hate crime. Many are vandalized and broken into not
        necessarily as a hate crime but because you have
        vandals and thieves."
        The center was in the news at the end of last year
        when a former imam, Omar Shahin, and four other Muslim
        scholars were barred from a US Airways flight in
        Minneapolis after fellow passengers complained that
        the Muslims appeared suspicious because they had
        kneeled and said prayers before boarding.
        As'ad said the center may make changes, regardless of
        the crimes' classification.
        "We are in the process of discussing increased
        security," he said. "But this is a good community.
        Very tolerant, a very good community."
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Catholic church defaced with anti-Arab graffiti
        Jim Lynch / The Detroit News
        Wednesday, April 04, 2007

        http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070404/METRO03/704040392/1041/LIFESTYLE04

        WARREN -- At a time when nearly 200 families of St.
        Mary's -- Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of
        the East were preparing to celebrate the move into a
        new facility, church leaders and members are dealing
        with issues of hate and, perhaps, mistaken identity.

        Vandals defaced the outside of the congregation's new
        church, at 4320 14 Mile, by spraying anti-Arab threats
        onto the building. The church is scheduled to host its
        first Mass May 6 after nearly 20 years at its location
        on Toepfer Road.

        Construction crews discovered the vandalism Monday
        morning.

        Among the messages left in blue and black paint were
        "1 God Jesus" and "Arabs Die." Most were left at the
        rear of the building.

        "It's not so much anger I feel but more a sense of
        disappointment," said Ashurina Mirza, a 21-year-old
        member of the congregation whose father helped build
        the original church two decades ago.

        "To know that the people in our church poured their
        hearts and souls into something and see someone try to
        destroy it it's disappointing."

        The religious undertones of the messages left on the
        church suggested perpetrators who are anti-Muslim. But
        church members, as the name suggests, are Catholics.

        And the number of crosses adorning the building,
        including a giant wooden cross over the western
        entrance, would seem to make it clear St. Mary's is a
        Christian church.

        Inside the church's entryway are writings that may
        appear Arabic, but they are actually Aramaic.

        The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is looking
        into the incident and plan to offer assistance to
        church members and the community at large.

        "These kinds of things are generally not based on
        people airing legitimate concerns," said Harold Core,
        a department spokesman.

        Warren Mayor Mark Steenbergh issued a statement
        Tuesday: "This kind of vandalism sickens me. People of
        all religions have the right to worship without having
        to put up with this kind of hatred. "

        Warren Police Chief Jere Green said he will increase
        patrols around places of worship in the area. Anyone
        with information regarding the vandalism should call
        police at (586) 574-4776.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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