Islam and Muslims in USA: Report: U.S. Muslim Terrorism Was Practically Nil in 2012
- Report: U.S. Muslim Terrorism Was Practically Nil in 2012
BY SPENCER ACKERMAN02.01.1312:57 PM
Try as al-Qaida might to encourage them, American Muslims still aren’t committing acts of terrorism. Only 14 people out of a population of millions were indicted for their involvement in violent terrorist plots in 2012, a decline from 2011′s 21. The plots themselves hit the single digits last year.
So much for a widespread stereotype. According to data tracked by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security in North Carolina and released Friday (.PDF), there were nine terrorist plots involving American Muslims in 2012. Only one of them, the attempted bombing of a Social Security office in Arizona, actually led to any violence. There were no casualties in that or any other incident. And the Triangle study tracks indictments, not convictions.
Terrorist incidents from American Muslims is on the decline for the third straight year. After an uptick in 2009, there were 18 plots in 2011 involving 21 U.S. Muslims. And it’s not just violent plots: Fewer Muslim-Americans are getting indicted for money laundering, material support for terrorism, and lying to investigators. There were 27 people indicted on those terror-support charges in 2010, eight in 2011 and six in 2012.
“Online, there’s all sorts of radical material out there — exhortations to violence, [instructions], and yet despite it being out there, so few people are taking it up,” University of North Carolina sociologist Charles Kurzman tells Danger Room. Kurzman’s research has been the driving force behind the Triangle study for the past four years. “From the democratization of the means of violence, accelerated by the internet, we might expect to see more violence and, fortunately, we haven’t.”
Muslim Festival Inspires Chicagoans
OnIslam & News Agencies
Sunday, 17 February 2013 00:00
CHICAGO – Seeking to change the very typical image of the minority, American Muslims are planning an outdoor festival in south Chicago to inspire social change between the city’s residents of different faiths and backgrounds.
“One of the things that I realized we needed was a community-based organization that connected the disconnected sectors of our communities, both in urban areas and in the larger middle-class sectors of the Muslim communities who were ready to mobilize,” Rami Nashashibi, the leader of Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in Chicago, told National Public Radio.
The Muslim festival, “Takin' It to the Streets”, is planned in south Chicago on June 15.
It will lure a host of artists and musicians as hip-hop artist Mos Def and rapper Lupe Fiasco.
Organizers hope that the outdoor festival will help change the typical image of American Muslims.
“We still live in a country where, unfortunately, many Americans still associate Islam with violence,” Nashashibi said.
“The recent Pew study found that almost 50 percent of Americans are more likely to think about Islam as a religion that promotes violence than other religions.
“So to be in a place that is associated with a different type of violence on the South Side of Chicago and to see Muslims alongside Jews, Christians and others promoting a message of real peace with real solutions to problems that we all face, with an artist like Mos, was really profound,” he said.
IMAN, which is run by Nashashibi, a 40-year-old Muslim activist, is one of the leading activist Muslim groups in Chicago area.
The group has recently opened a free clinic to offer medical help for poor residents as well as helping ex-convicts in Chicago to find jobs and housing.
It has also hosted a series of poetry slams and urban street fairs to connect Muslims to the arts and social justice work.
The success of IMAN and other NGOs in Chicago has inspired many Muslim activists across the United States to launch similar initiatives in different cities, including Detroit, Atlanta, New York City, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Chicago has the largest Muslim community in the United States with about 400,000 Muslims live there.
The United States is home to a Muslim community of between six to eight million.
Organizers say that Islam has offered young Americans a refuge in violence-prone neighborhoods.
“I think Islam and the Muslim community at large has been a source of refuge for many young people who have been afflicted historically with the challenges of violence, living and growing up in violence-prone neighborhoods with the challenges of gang violence,” Nashashibi said.
“Islam has, actually, always been a very powerful transformative force in these urban communities.”
Efforts of Muslim activists in Chicago were not confined to only social service, but also extended to clear misconceptions about the religion.
“The real corrective I think is providing more Americans with the opportunity to meaningfully engage with American Muslims on the ground working toward real solutions around issues like violence in their own communities,” Nashashibi said.
Recently, Muslim activists have launched a campaign in Chicago to reclaim the true meaning of Jihad as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims.
The campaign has later expanded to San Francisco and Washington D.C.
A recent US survey had revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
A Gallup poll had also found that the majority of US Muslims are patriot and loyal to their country and are optimistic about their future.
MIT Prof. Reveals Lost History of Bengali Muslims in Harlem
By Monica Luhar, Staff Reporter
Feb 06, 2013
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, harsh restrictions and laws prevented many Indians and other Asians from entering the U.S. and becoming citizens.
While many South Asians lost a sense of being part of the fabric of the nation, some forged bonds with local ethnic communities in New York and other U.S. cities.
In his new book, "Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America," Vivek Bald, an assistant professor of writing and digital media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, unravels the lost histories of South Asian immigrants who jumped ship and settled in the boroughs of New York, Detroit and Philadelphia.
Some Bengali Muslims settled in racially diverse neighborhoods in New York, many of them marrying women of color, including Creoles, Puerto Ricans and African Americans.
US control is diminishing, but it still thinks it owns the world
The United States has long assumed the right to use violence to achieve its aims, but it is now less able to implement its policies
Noam Chomsky for TomDispatch, part of the Guardian Comment Network
guardian.co.uk, Monday 4 February 2013 14.01 GMT
U.S. dominates list of world’s “500 Most Influential Muslims’
By OMAR SACIRBEY | Religion News Service
First Published Nov 28 2012 01:59 pm • Last Updated Nov 28 2012 01:59 pm
There are more Muslims from America than any other country on this year’s "Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims," compiled by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, a respected think tank in Jordan, including two in the top 50.
Sheik Hamza Yusuf Hanson, a California-born convert who founded Zaytuna College, an Islamic college in Berkeley, Calif., and is a leading Islamic authority in America, ranked No. 42, two places ahead of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, an Islamic studies professor at George Washington University known for his work in Islamic philosophy.
America’s roughly 2.6 million Muslims are a tiny fraction of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, but they took 41 spots on the 500 list. Countries with the next highest number of names were Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, with 25 Muslims each, followed by Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, with 24.
"Compared to the global Muslim population, the representation of U.S. Muslims in this list is disproportionate, but yet representative in the way they shape global discourse," said Duke University Islamic studies professor Ebrahim Moosa.
The third annual compilation lists the winners according to 13 categories, including spiritual guides, Quran reciters, scholars, politicians, celebrities, sports figures, radicals and media leaders. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah took the list’s No. 1 spot.
Other Americans to make the list include:
• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, all-time NBA scoring leader, and boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
• Umar Faruq Abdullah, a convert who founded the Nawawi Foundation, an educational nonprofit organization in Chicago.
• Azizah Al-Hibri, chairwoman of Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, appointed in 2011 by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
• Sheik Muhammad Bin Yahya Al Husayni Al-Ninowy, imam at the Masjid al-Madina in Atlanta, and a descendant of Prophet Muhammad’s daughter Fatima.
First Muslim college in the US
With only a dozen students for now, Zaytuna College in California hopes to integrate Islamic and western education.
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2013 17:10
Posted at 09:10 AM ET, 01/30/2013
‘Jihad’ ads come to D.C. Metro stations
By Elizabeth Tenety
Aiming to “reclaim jihad from Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists alike,” Muslim activists this week announced that their “#My jihad” ad campaign began running Monday in D.C. metro stations. The ads have previously appeared on buses in San Francisco and Chicago.
With a four-week ad buy in the Shaw, Waterfront, Rockville and Dunn Loring Metro stations, organizer Ahmed Rehab, who is also executive director of the Chicago branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says that he is hoping to change the narrative around the word jihad.
“We kind of got tired sitting there watching people tell us what we believe or what we don’t believe.”
The posters feature photos of Muslims sharing their religious struggles, and uses lines like “my jihad is to build bridges through friendship” and “my jihad: modesty is not a weakness.”
Rehab’s Web site, myjihad.org notes, “for Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists (who ironically are on perfect agreement), jihad is synonymous with terrorism, blowing up things, and spilling innocent blood.” The site adds “For many others, including members of the media and academia and even some Western dictionaries, jihad is often mistranslated simply as ‘holy war.’”
Instead, read a statement on the campaign, activists hope to highlight the concept as it is lived by ordinary Muslims: “Jihad is a central tenet of the Islamic creed which means struggling uphill in order to get to a better place.”
Rehab also is inviting Muslims to tweet using the hashtag #myjihad to explain how jihad shapes their lived spirituality. As if to prove his point, the hashtag has been flooded with tweets from anti-Muslim activists pointing to accounts of violence perpetrated by violent Islamic extremists.
The additional three ads being run in dioramas, the back-lit displays in Washington areas Metro stations, are below.
Ad Campaign Aims to Take Back the Word "Jihad"
Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 | Updated 11:06 PM EST
FINDING MECCA IN AMERICA
January 28, 2013
Muscat Daily Exclusive
Mucahit Bilici speaks about his new book that analyses how Muslims have adapted to life in the US and embraced the country as their home after overcoming obstacles, such as discrimination and persecution, especially after the 9/11 attacks
Are Muslims at home in America? And, is America at ease with Muslims? Mucahit Bilici investigates these questions in his superb new book, Finding Mecca in America: How Islam is Becoming an American Religion (The University of Chicago Press, 2012).
Mucahit Bilici is Assistant Professor of Sociology at John Jay College, City University of New York. He was educated at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey; University of Utah; and University of Michigan.
Bilici served as a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration, and Religion from 2009-2010.
In Finding Mecca in America, Bilici studies how Muslims have adapted to America and embraced it as home. It has not been an easy journey for Muslims in the United States. In their quest for ‘membership in American society’, Muslims faced discrimination and persecution, especially after 9/11. They overcame these obstacles through solidarity, outreach, and sheer determination to belong in America. ‘Islam and America’, Bilici writes, ‘have become enmeshed. It is becoming impossible to objectify Islam in America without mutilating America itself’.
Finding Mecca in America is an exceptional study of Islam in America. It is one of the best books on the Muslim experience in America. Mucahit Bilici discusses his new book in this exclusive interview.
Two Muslim women bridge faiths in Newtown vigil
By Bill Miller
With few Muslim foster families in North Texas, Richland Hills clinic asks community to step up
By SARAH MERVOSH Staff Writer smervosh@...
Published: 29 December 2012 11:05 PM
A lack of Muslim foster parents in North Texas means local Muslim children are almost always placed with families of other faiths, putting them in an unfamiliar cultural and religious environment and making a difficult process even harder.
A Richland Hills clinic doesn’t want foster children to face added stresses, like being served bacon when their religion forbids pork, or saying prayers in a bedroom with a cross on the wall. That’s why the Muslim Community Center for Human Services is offering up a challenge to local Muslims: Step up. Become a foster parent.
“It’s a service to humanity,” said Dr. Basheer Ahmed, who founded the clinic. “There’s definitely a bad need in the community.”
About 6,000 North Texas children are in foster care each year, according to Child Protective Services. In recent years, local community leaders say, there have been a handful of times when a Muslim foster home was needed but not available, including twice in the past few months.
A local spokesperson for Child Protective Services confirmed there are far fewer Muslim foster families in North Texas than families of other religions, or of no religion. Experts say this mirrors a national problem.
Of 4,000 families approved to foster and adopt children in one national database, only five are identified as Muslim, according to AdoptUSKids, a federally funded project that raises awareness about adoption and helps recruit and connect families with children who need homes.
Kathy Ledesma is national project director for AdoptUSKids. She said many Americans are motivated by their Christian faith to become foster parents. That may be well and good for Christian children, but it limits her organization’s ability to effectively place children of other religions.
“It’s really a disservice to children … to be in a home that has different traditions, with which the children are either uncomfortable or disagree,” she said. To place a Muslim child in a non-Muslim home is “really violating their religious freedom or their beliefs,” she added.
Ahmed hopes to address the problem through his Richland Hills community center. He wants to enlist at least a few Muslim families from North Texas to undergo training with CPS.
Ahmed said the high proportion of Muslims who are immigrants could partially explain the lack of foster parents. Many Muslims come to the United States from cultures where multiple generations — and, thus, plenty of caregivers — live under one roof.
“Back home, we had no concept of foster care,” said Ahmed, who was born in India.
And this lack of understanding can lead to fear and reluctance within the community, he said.
Though Islam requires adults to be honest with children about their family lineage, the religion endorses fostering and adoption, said Imam Zia Sheikh of the Islamic Center of Irving.
“Looking after orphans and taking care of them is actually encouraged in Islam,” he said.
Jamal Qadurra, a Muslim legal assistant, is trying to arrange a conference to encourage the Muslim community to support foster parenting.
He said Muslims in North Texas should act as one large, extended family, in which everyone has a responsibility to help care for the young.
“This is what our religion calls for,” he said. “We have a duty all to help each other.”
For information about becoming a foster parent, contact the Muslim Community Center for Human Services at 817-589-9165.
Muslims and Jews unite to bring goodness to the world
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2012
BY LISA KINTISH
NEIGHBOR NEWS (DENVILLE EDITION)
Colorado Faith Leaders Combat Anti-Muslim Ads With ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ Campaign
By Aviva Shen on Dec 25, 2012 at 4:55 pm
Mosques are a part of our nation's religious fabrics
By Creede Hinshaw
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, opened in August 2012 after enduring two years of controversy, perhaps bringing to a close the vandalism and violence that has roiled both the structure itself and people of this middle Tennessee city of 100,000 citizens. While the center was being built a construction vehicle was set afire and bomb threats were left on the center’s answering machines. A vocal minority of residents feared that the mosque’s members are terrorists and claimed the mosque isn’t protected by the First Amendment because Islam isn’t a religion.
#A review of the mosque’s website describes “our endeavor to continue building bridges of tolerance and respect”; one hopes this is being lived out in middle Tennessee. Murfreesboro’s official city website identifies Murfreesboro as the Most Livable City in Tennessee, though it is not apparent whether this title was bestowed before or after the expressions of intolerance and fear.
#Murfreesboro isn’t the only screen on which this drama is being played out. The Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield, a wealthy community with at least 11 synagogues, is enduring the same struggle now that Bloomfield Muslims plan to open that community’s first mosque at the site of a former public school.
#That proposed mosque has also been met with hostility and lawsuits. A Christian legal group (The Thomas More Law Center) distributed a flier in West Bloomfield claiming that “Stealth Jihad is being waged against America.” Two men filed a lawsuit to overturn the sale of the school over a year ago. That suit was dismissed last week by the Michigan Court of Appeals, who agreed with the lower court that nothing in the sale was illegal or improper.
#It is heartening to read (Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2012) that many citizens of West Bloomfield, including a cross section of religious leaders, stood up for the right of the Muslims to purchase and build a mosque in their city, identifying opponents as hysterical bigots. An assistant superintendent of the school district observed that the opposition “falls into what people would call Islamophobia.” Strong words on both sides, to be sure.
#Freedom of religion gives persons of all religious persuasions freedom to identify other religions as heretical, dangerous or misguided. There is no law against phobias, religious or otherwise. But those who are the most fearful of somebody else’s religion must come to terms with the constitutional guarantees to practice our religion unhindered by government intervention.
#According to the Council on America-Islamic Relations (CAIR) there are now 2,106 mosques in the United States and an Internet search indicates a couple of mosques or Islamic Centers in Albany, too. CAIR also notes a recent spike in mosque violence in the U.S. I can’t tell from the Internet how vital these mosques are or what role they play in the Albany community, but one hopes these religious bodies are accepted as part of the rich religious fabric constituting our nation.
#Contact the Rev. Creede Hinshaw at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah at creede@....
Six Days After 9/11, Another Anniversary Worth Honoring
By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN
Published: September 7, 2012
In the coming days, the calendar will bring the anniversaries of two signal events. One, of course, is Sept. 11, a Tuesday this year, as it was in 2001, when Al Qaeda terrorists in four hijacked planes killed more than 3,000 Americans. With public memorial services and private tears, those deaths will be recalled and mourned.
The other anniversary is of the visit President George W. Bush made to a Washington mosque just six days after the attack, where he spoke eloquently against the harassment of Arabs and Muslims living in the United States and about the need to respect Islam.
This act of leadership and statesmanship, however, has all but vanished from the national collective memory. It deserves, instead, to be noted and heeded and esteemed.
In its immediate moment, Mr. Bush’s appearance at the Islamic Center of Washington may have helped to quell vigilante assaults on American Muslims and on those, like Sikhs, who were mistaken for them. At the policy level, the president’s words also served notice that unlike Franklin D. Roosevelt after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he would not intern or in any way collectively punish innocent American citizens who happened to share a religion or ethnicity with foreign foes.
After hailing American Muslims as “friends” and “taxpaying citizens” in his comments at the mosque, Mr. Bush went on to say: “These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that.” He quoted from the Koran: “In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil.” Then he continued in his own words: “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.”
Eleven years after the fact, Mr. Bush has been treated like a prophet without honor in his own land. He was barely mentioned at the Republican convention last week, and former presidential candidates like Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann have regularly inveighed against Muslims. While former President Bill Clinton praised Mr. Bush at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., for his work on AIDS in Africa and disaster relief, most allusions to Mr. Bush there were for the war in Iraq and the economic collapse that struck in his final months in office.
Yet there was always another side to Mr. Bush, present in his self-definition as a “compassionate conservative,” in his deep faith and respect for all religions. He was probably the most colorblind Republican president since Lincoln, appointing Hispanic and black Americans to meaningful cabinet positions — national security adviser, secretary of state, secretary of education, attorney general.
During Mr. Bush’s campaign for the Republican nomination in 2000, he spoke at a mosque, making him the first candidate in either party to do so. During a debate against his Democratic opponent, Al Gore, he denounced the profiling of Arab-American and Muslim-American airline passengers. Mr. Bush’s appointment schedule on Sept. 11, 2001, until tragedy intervened, included a 3 p.m. meeting with a delegation of American Muslim leaders.
“His entire concept of human liberty cannot be understood apart from his elemental view of the spiritual nature of all men and women,” said Tim Goeglein, a White House staff member involved in planning the mosque visit and author of “The Man in the Middle,” about the role of religion in the Bush administration. “This is one of the very important narratives of the Bush presidency.”
As Mr. Bush recounted in his own book “Decision Points,” in the days after Sept. 11, he was disturbed by reports of bias crimes against American Muslims. And he had heard firsthand accounts of the Japanese-American internment from one of its victims — Norman Y. Mineta, a Democrat who served as Mr. Bush’s transportation secretary.
Out of that combination of historical perspective and visceral decency, Mr. Bush sent instructions to the White House’s Office of Public Liaison to arrange for him to visit a mosque. For the men and women in that office, the stakes were instantly clear.
“In the aftermath of 9/11, when every move the president made was being watched extremely closely, it was important to demonstrate that American Muslims were not the same people who attacked the U.S.,” said Matt Smith, the liaison office’s associate director at the time. “When you show that these people are Americans, it goes a long way.”
One of several Muslim members of the White House staff was Suhail Khan, who worked in the liaison office and took a leading role in deciding which mosque the president should visit. The Islamic Center of Washington struck him as nearly ideal. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had laid its cornerstone in 1957, and its congregation included diplomats, business executives and other professionals. Unlike several other Washington mosques, it had been built for Muslim worship, not converted from a previous use. So television and still cameras would be able to capture the image of an American president in a visibly, indelibly Islamic setting.
Within about 24 hours, the mosque was checked by the Secret Service for security, a briefing memo was prepared for the president and an advance team was dispatched to the Islamic center. Then, on the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 17, Mr. Bush and all the attendant news media went to the mosque.
Mr. Bush removed his shoes, in accordance with Islamic practice, before entering the mosque’s prayer room. He met for about 45 minutes with leaders of several American Muslim organizations, including Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Afterward, standing before a tile wall of characteristically Islamic patterns and near a woman wearing a hijab, Mr. Bush, speaking in a grave and subdued tone, issued his appeal for tolerance and unity.
“I think in those days, so many people here and around the world watched that clip,” Mr. Awad said recently. “And it should be played over and over to remind people that what made America great is respect for religious freedom and zero tolerance for hate crimes against innocent people.”
Why a Dallas UM pastor is observing the Muslim fast of Ramadan (Photos)
JULY 29, 2012BY: DINA MALKI