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Islamophobia in the USA: Muslims being targeted, advocacy group charges

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  • Zafar Khan
    Muslims being targeted, advocacy group charges Cambridge man fights off attackers By Todd Wallack | GLOBE STAFF MAY 07, 2013
    Message 1 of 1 , May 14, 2013
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      Muslims being targeted, advocacy group charges
      Cambridge man fights off attackers
      By Todd Wallack | GLOBE STAFF MAY 07, 2013


      An Algerian-American from Cambridge was attacked outside a Back Bay restaurant Saturday night, say police and a Muslim advocacy group,the latest of several assaults on Muslims since the ­Boston Marathon bombings three weeks ago.

      The assailants allegedly called the 23-year-old college student, Amine Hadjeres, a “terrorist” and told him he looked like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the suspects accused of planting bombs at the Marathon finish line on April 15, who was later killed while trying to elude police.

      The victim, a US citizen, said he was attacked by two tipsy men outside the Cafeteria Boston restaurant on Newbury Street in Boston about 10 p.m. Saturday night after he left to buy a pack of cigarettes.

      Hadjeres said he initially tried to ignore the men, who taunted and shoved him, but wound up brawling with them in the street after they would not leave him alone. He said the fight left him with bloody knuckles and a bruised elbow and hip, but he successfully fought off both men and walked back into the restaurant, where he was greeted with applause.

      “They messed with the wrong dude,” Hadjeres said. “Their faces were pretty banged up.”

      The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advo­cacy organization, urged state and federal authorities to charge suspects with violating hate crime laws.

      “We urge local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to take the suspects in this case into custody and to bring appropriate charges that reflect the apparent bias motive,” said council spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

      Police told the council the suspects have been identified, but not yet arrested.

      The council said the incident was just the latest attack on Muslims since the Marathonbombings. A Muslim taxi driver was allegedly attacked in Virginia a week ago by a passenger who accused him of carrying out the Boston attack.

      In Malden, a mother of Middle Eastern descent who was wearing an Islamic head scarf called a hijab, was attacked two weeks ago by a man shouting anti-Muslim slurs, the council said.

      Boston police spokeswoman Cheryl Fiandaca said the Newbury Street assault is being handled by its civil rights unit, which investigates potential hate crimes.

      The Suffolk district attorney’s office said it has assigned a senior prosecutor to work with Boston police on any potential charges, but has not seen a pattern of similar crimes in the area.

      “Even one [attack] is too many, but, fortunately, we have not seen a great deal of similar assaults in Boston,” said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

      The US attorney’s office vowed to work with the FBI, Boston police, and the state attorney general’s office “to ensure the matter is fully investigated and prosecuted, should the facts demonstrate a hate crime.

      According to a redacted copy of the police report, police responded to a radio call about 10 p.m. Saturday about a fight at the intersection of Newbury Street and Gloucester Street, where the Cafeteria Boston restaurant is located.

      Two witnesses said they saw two men verbally and physically harass another man, calling him a “terrorist.”

      The victim told police that one of his assailants told him: “You’re a terrorist. You look like [Tamerlan Tsarnaev]. The FBI is going to get people like you.”

      The police report also suggested some of the people involved in the fight had been drinking.

      Hadjeres said he was shocked to be called a foreigner and a terrorist, since he is an American.

      “You can’t call me that,” he said, adding that he immigrated to the US when he was 7. “This is where I am from.”

      Todd Wallack can be reached at twallack@.... Follow him on Twitter @twallack.

      Making a Farce of a Faith: Where Do We Draw the Line?
      Posted: 05/07/2013 12:32 pm


      This week, a birthday card is making headlines for its provocative messaging. A member of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) discovered the card, which features a doll on the cover donning the hijab, in a Chicago store. The card reads, "Pull string for message if you dare!" "She'll love you to death!" and "She'll blow your brains out!" on the cover. Inside, the card reads, "Hope your birthday is a blow out!"

      The card plays into the stereotypical portrayal of the Muslim as nothing more than a self-detonating ticking time bomb.

      Not funny, if only because this is such a hackneyed trope.

      At the surface, many may see no problem with this offensive, insensitive attempt at humor. I mean, come on, don't Muslims have a sense of humor? Bill Maher once said, "Muslims still take their religion too seriously, whereas we have the good sense to blow it off." So why are Muslim always complaining about cartoons and birthday cards? Isn't all fair in comedy and war?

      The case of terrorist doll as the caricature of a Muslim embodies and perpetuates the proliferation of racist stereotypes in American culture. Is there is a place for racism under the guise of parody in American culture today?

      But why is the lampoon of the Muslim terrorist an acceptable one? The parody of the Muslim presents a unique scenario: While satire of African Americans, Latinos or Jews is seen as racist, "Muslim" is not a race, and therefore parody of Muslims does not fall under the purview of racist discourse.

      Phew. So we're good, right?

      Wrong. It seems like the realm of the sacred is no longer sacred. Mocking or deriding race, gender and sexual orientation are all unacceptable in our society. Countless comedians have been branded as racist, misogynistic or homophobic, and as a result their careers have gone the way of the dinosaurs. There are certain things we will not tolerate; but Islamophobia is one of the things we will.

      What is particularly problematic about the greeting card in question is that it employs the symbolism of childhood -- dolls, carefree play, love and innocent amusement -- and entangles and pollutes it with political innuendo. The doll featured on the cover of the card, an actual doll designed and sold by Desi Doll Company, wears a headscarf, the visual flag alerting the viewer that this doll is Muslim. An item created to give Muslim children a toy they can identify with has been manipulated to sully this identity and isolate them even further.

      As young American Muslims grow up in a culture that finds no harm in making light of their religious, and often, primary identity, they cannot help but lose part of their self confidence and sense of worth. If you too carry a cue that may point to your religious identity, whether it is your headscarf or your name, you may be forced to bear the burden of all aggressors who professed your faith. Not only is this a dangerous thing for how others perceive you, but more importantly, it affects how you perceive yourself. And as prominent American Imam Zaid Shakir once said, "The worst form of hatred is self hatred."

      A young Muslim can develop the attitude that he deserves to be bullied, harassed, profiled and suspected because there are individuals who identify with his faith who commit heinous acts. It's not that he may say this outright, but it is implied by his actions and reactions. It is like someone who is abused needing to constantly be reminded that they do not deserve abuse. No one does. Muslims say this over and over, but do not truly internalize it: We have nothing to be ashamed of.

      Islamophobic discourse can breed self-hating, apologetic American Muslims, or it can lead to the very opposite, producing awkward individuals detached from the society they live in, but have feel like they have no place in.

      When it comes to parody, there are certain things that remain off limits in American culture. This past February, on E!'s Fashion Police, Joan Rivers praised the dress model Heidi Klum wore to an Academy Awards party, saying, "The last time a German looked this hot was when they were pushing Jews into the ovens." Rivers was skewered in the media, and rightfully so, for refusing to apologize for this remark. The Anti-Defamation League denounced Rivers, calling her comment "vulgar and hideous." Rivers, who is Jewish, defended the remark as a method of inciting controversy and discussion.

      There are certain things that are funny. Genocide and suicide bombings are not one of them.

      Such loaded remarks and stereotypes not only disrespect the dead, but also perpetuate the estrangement and alienation of those groups being stereotyped.

      Parody loses its humor when the joke affects the self image of the one being parodied. The greeting card in question does not mock the essence of Islam; it has no qualms with the precepts of the Muslim faith. Rather, this card mocks the Muslim as an individual. In this sense, the joke is not about what I believe, the joke is about me.

      So no, it's not just about cards, cartoons and comedians. It's about much more.

      CAIR-WA to Seek 'Maximum Penalties' for Threats to Muslim Family
      Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 11:4


      'She'll blow your brains out': Muslim girl greeting card parodies talking Arab doll with terrorist bomb jokes
      'She'll love you to death' says birthday card based on headscarf-wearing talking dolls for Muslim girls
      PUBLISHED: 17:38, 4 May 2013 | UPDATED: 15:31, 5 May 2013


      Muslim cabdriver alleges assault by passenger who cited Boston Marathon bombing
      By Joe Stephens and Justin Jouvenal,April 30, 2013


      Fox News host: Denouncing violence against Muslims ‘could be perceived’ as offensive
      By Eric W. Dolan
      Monday, April 29, 2013 22:41 EDT


      Abe Foxman Rationalizes Blanket Spying On American Muslims
      by Ali Gharib Apr 29, 2013 11:30 AM EDT


      The Anti-Defamation League turned 100 this week. Renowned for its early anti-racism efforts, the group can, and should, boast of its role in American Jewry's unabashed and unqualified rise into the nation's establishment. There's still, to be sure, remnants of American anti-Semitism; those strains of thought are worthy of a wary eye and vigilant marginalization. The ADL, with its vaunted anti-racist history, ought to be at the forefront of this work. But it just can't be taken seriously in this task with Abraham Foxman at its helm, not when he uses the occasion of the group's centennial to rationalize discrimination, that against Muslims. A man with this record—and it's a growing record—can't be responsible for fighting anti-Semitism as part and parcel of "all forms of bigotry," as the ADL claims it does.

      FBI investigates vandalism at Oklahoma City mosque as potential hate crime
      Vandals spray-painted the Grand Mosque in Oklahoma City early Saturday, authorities said, sparking an FBI investigation into “a potential hate crime,” FBI spokesman Rick Rains said.
      By Carla Hinton and Juliana Keeping | Published: April 27, 2013


      Muslim Bashing in the Wake of Boston Bombing
      After Boston attack, physical threats are waning, but verbal attacks continue.
      Lacey Gray
      National Geographic News
      Published April 26, 2013


      Muslim garb gets Houston student singled out at festival
      By Robert Stanton | April 23, 2013 | Updated: April 24, 2013 1:01am


      Teen 'fearful' after portrayal as US bomber
      Salah Eddin Barhoum, wrongfully labelled as Boston blasts suspect, says will not feel safe until bombers are caught.
      Last Modified: 19 Apr 2013 10:20


      'Muslims are evil. Let’s kill them all': US TV commentator Erik Rush provokes furious reaction with Boston bombing Twitter rants
      Rush appeared to imply in a tweet that the culprit was from Saudi Arabia


      CAIR Says Sponsors of Tenn. Anti-Islam Bill 'Sink' to New Low
      Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 18:30


      Texas Investigates School Curriculum Over Islam Conspiracy Theory
      Jessica HusemaninPolitics,Education 2 months ago


      Video: CAIR Responds to New Anti-Islam Ads Placed in DC Metro Stations


      Hoboken man charged with bias intimidation and robbery of cabbie
      By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal
      on February 28, 2013 at 7:45 AM, updated February 28, 2013 at 7:46 AM


      Hate crime charges in attack by N.J. skinheads
      POSTED: December 19, 2012


      Two New Jersey white supremacists who allegedly attacked several men of Egyptian descent on New Years Eve - and then boasted about the assault on a social media website - were charged this morning with the commission of hate crimes, federal prosecutors said.

      Christopher Ising, 31, and Michal Gunar, 27, purportedly are members of two virulently racist neo-Nazi groups. Federal authorities said Ising, of East Brunswick, belonged to the "Atlantic City Skins;" Gunar, of Cranbury, is a member of the "Aryan Terror Brigade," according to the indictment.

      On New Years Eve 2011, Ising threw a party at his home where he discussed plans to assault non-Caucasians at random with Gunar and others, the indictment said. Pumped up on alcohol and white supremacist music, Ising, Gunar and six to eight party goers left Ising's home to "hunt down some sand niggers," Gunar later wrote.

      At a nearby Sayreville apartment complex, the skinheads found their prey in a parking lot. Ising, carrying brass knuckles, and Gunar, brandishing a knife, set apon a man identified in the indictment as M.H. When a friend of the victim, R.M., rushed to his aid, the skinheads attacked him while shouting anti-Arab slurs, according to the indictment. The indictment was unclear about the role of the third man.

      Following the beatings, Ising and Gunar fled to Ising's home. Later, Gunar posted a picture of a pair of pants soiled with blood. About a week later, Gunar trumpeted his involvement with the beating on the same website, according to the indictment.

      " ...(W)e went to hunt down some sand niggers, it was me and my other bro on like 6 or eight and we whooped them..." Gunar allegedly wrote.

      If convicted on the hate crime charges, both Ising and Gunar face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000

      Video: Teacher Tells Students Muslims, Arabs Are 'Just Like Hitler'


      Alabama Democrats rebuke party switcher for offensive email
      By George Talbot | gtalbot@...
      on February 09, 2013 at 8:40 AM, updated February 09, 2013 at 4:22 PM


      ‘Why Islam’ Counters US Islamophobes
      OnIslam & News Agencies
      Saturday, 16 February 2013 00:00


      JAMAICA, New York – Amid a new Islamophobic drive against the sizable minority, American Muslims have expanded an awareness campaign to present a better understanding of Islam to South Florida.

      "We are thankful to God, Almighty, for giving us the opportunity to bring this Islam awareness campaign to South Florida,” Naeem Baig, President of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.

      "We hope that through this campaign we would be able to reach out to the growing and diverse community of South Florida."

      The "Why Islam" campaign features new billboards and latest web technology to drive traffic to ICNA’s YouTube channel and website.

      A direct call center is already in place to take phone calls to help the callers with the up-to-date information about Islam by calling 1 (877) Why – Islam (949-47526).

      It follows an earlier launch of the campaign in the central state of Florida on the New Year's eve.

      The campaign aims to present an accurate image of Islam and create new opportunities for dialogue with American society.

      It also highlights commonalities between Islam, Christianity and Judaism and the universal message brought by all Messengers: to worship only "The One God".

      The effort is not the first by ICNA to present an accurate image of Islam.

      Last year, the organization offered free copies of the Noble Qur'an as well as Islamic pamphlets in front of public libraries as part of its campaign.

      The pamphlets covered a number of subjects, including the relationship of Muslims to Christians and Jews, human rights, status of women, the afterlife, worship and one titled "What does Islam say about terrorism?"


      The Muslim drive coincides with the launch of a new hate campaign by anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller in D.C. Metro.

      My Jihad "is a deceptive campaign designed to distract from and obscure the true meaning of jihad that Muslims the world over understand," Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), told The Huffington Post in an email.

      She believes that her new advertisement campaign will "show the reality of jihad."

      The umbrella Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has earlier launched a campaign titled "My Jihad", to explain the true and proper meaning of the term as believed and practiced by the majority of Muslims.

      The Muslim campaign has so far been launched in three American cities; Chicago, San Francisco and Washington.

      Jihad is often stereotyped by Western media as meaning “holy war”.

      But Muslim scholars have repeatedly affirmed that the word Jihad, which is mentioned in the Noble Qur'an, means "struggle" to do good and to remove injustice, oppression and evil from society.

      Karen Armstrong, the prominent and prolific British writer on all three monotheistic religions, has criticized stereotyping the Arabic word "jihad" as merely meaning holy war.

      But American Muslims are unfazed by Geller's anti-Islam campaign.

      "It's a free country, and she's free to be a bigot and a hate-monger if she wants to be," CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.

      "We would hope intelligent people would recognize it for the hate-mongering it is and make appropriate conclusions about the motivations of the sponsors."

      US Muslims, estimated at between six to eight million, have been sensing a growing hostility following a hearing presented by Republican representative Peter King on what he described as “radicalization” of US Muslims.

      A recent report by CAIR, the University of California and Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender found that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.

      A US survey had also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.

      A recent Gallup poll had found that 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least “a little” prejudice against Muslims.

      An Islamic Antichrist? Joel Richardson Predicts A Muslim Satanic Figure
      Religion News Service | By Daniel Burke
      Posted: 02/07/2013 7:41 am EST


      Islamophobia incidents on the rise in US
      There was a 10 per cent increase in anti-Muslim incidents in 2012 reported by the San Francisco Bay Area office
      By Mick O’Reilly Senior Associate EditorPublished: 15:01 February 3, 2013


      US Officers Suspended For Islam Reversion
      OnIslam & News Agencies
      Friday, 01 February 2013 00:00


      WASHINGTON – Two police officers have sued Washington Metropolitan police in Superior Court, accusing its officials of suspending them indefinitely for converting to Islam.

      “The investigation and suspension of the plaintiffs was initiated and conducted by defendant McGuire because of the plaintiffs' religious affiliation and personal associations, statements of expression made by plaintiffs, and the plaintiffs' respective name changes,” the complaint filed at the District of Columbia, in Superior Court, was cited by Court House News on Friday, February 1.

      Adham Numair-El and Ishmeal Heru-Bey, formerly Joseph Gibson and Jamal Adams, sued Metro Police Chief Cathy Lanier, internal affairs agent James McGuire and the District of Columbia, in Superior Court.

      The complaint was made “in retaliation for the plaintiffs complaining that their suspensions and the first effort to terminate their employment were acts of unlawful discrimination and violations of the plaintiffs' constitutionally protected rights.”

      Numair-El, who's been on the force since 2004, and Heru-Bey, a police officer since 2002, both say they converted separately to Islam for spiritual peace and fulfillment.

      Finding Islam, they legally changed their names and received new government-issued identification.

      While Heru-Bey obtained a new Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) identification card and badge under his new name, Numair-El claims he was denied both documents.

      Numair-El added that he was fired from his part-time job as a security officer after losing his police powers.

      Facing trial board, the two officers said they were found not guilty of misconduct.

      Returning to work, they were suspended again, one day later.

      The officers claim that McGuire caused the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration to investigate the lawfulness of their driver's licenses, which bear their Islam names.

      Both say the MPD tried to fire them "at the urging and direction of defendants McGuire and Lanier, because of plaintiff's religious affiliation and personal associations."

      The two Muslim officers noted that their suspensions cost them the ability to work special events and overtime.

      "Both plaintiffs have remained suspended (with pay but no overtime, no authorization to work part-time, and no ability to be promoted) for nearly two years since the trial board ruled in the plaintiffs' favor and without notice of any allegations against them,” the complaint said.

      They seek reinstatement and compensatory and punitive damages totaling $16 million, for employment discrimination, civil rights violations and negligent supervision.

      Eight attacks, 11 days
      There's a crime wave targeting houses of worship, most of them Muslim. Is something sinister at work?


      King legacy: Stop killing innocents
      2:38 AM, Jan. 22, 2013


      'He was trying to shake me off': Sick subway pusher says she was determined to kill Queens immigrant
      Last Updated: 5:46 PM, January 19, 2013
      Posted: 1:29 AM, January 19, 2013


      Halting anti-Muslim violence
      Many of the recent attacks have taken place shortly after well-publicised anti-Muslim hate speeches, argues author.
      Last Modified: 08 Jan 2013 12:44


      'Hate Crime' Suspect Sought After Lutz Walmart Shooting
      A man shot another man in the face with a pellet gun in the Walmart parking lot early Wednesday, according to reports.
      By Keli Sipperley Email the author January 2, 2013


      Death by brown skin
      An Indian immigrant's subway tragedy is a reminder of a destructive Islamophobia that has spread across the country


      Top 5 Islam-Bashing Republicans to Watch in 2013
      While some prominent haters were booted out of office, there are still plenty of Islamophobes hanging around American politics.

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