US MUSLIMS STAND AGAINST TERRORISM AND ISLAMOPHOBIA


US Muslims Stand Against Terrorism

US Muslims, terrorism, Islam, violenceWhile condemning violence and terrorism in the name of religion, Muslim leaders have urged Americans not to scapegoat the Muslim community following the Boston attacks.

“We will never allow ourselves to be hijacked by this attempt,” Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told a new conference on Friday, April 19 cited by The Washington Post.

“We will not allow the perception to be that there is any religion in the world that condones the taking of innocent life.”

Police arrested Friday a second suspect in twin bombings that rocked Boston Marathon earlier this week and killed at least three people and injured scores.

The suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was found hiding in a boat in a suburban homeowner’s backyard.

Police said they exchanged gunfire with the suspect, from Chechnya, after cornering him in Watertown, near Boston.

Bomb-squad vans and ambulances surrounded the house, while helicopters buzzed overhead.

Later on, police told journalists that the suspect was being treated at a Massachusetts hospital from serious gunshot wounds to the neck and leg.

Police said the suspect had escaped on foot, apparently wounded, after a shootout that claimed the life of his elder brother, an alleged accomplice.

American Muslim leaders have reiterated rejection of committing violence in the name of religion.

“Just because they say they’re Muslim doesn’t make them Muslim,” Imam Benjamin Abdul-Haqq of Washington’s Masjid Muhammad mosque, told  the press conference convened by CAIR and other leading Muslim groups.

“These are criminal acts, not religious acts.”

Along with Muslim leaders from CAIR, the conference was also attended by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Islamic Society of North America and other groups.

Muslim attendees have expressed frustration that they are once again being forced to defend their faith against the actions of some extremists.

“As a Muslim American community, we should not be held accountable for the acts of any individual,” said ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid.

Scapegoated Muslims

Muslim leaders appealed to the American public not to scapegoat the whole minority following the attacks.

“Every faith has within it heretical elements, and unfortunately some young people will listen to those elements,” said CAIR spokesman Corey Saylor.

“What you’re looking at now is a force that is pushing back against that loudly and clearly.”

Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, also urged Americans to “reject scapegoating groups” based on their “racial, ethnic or religious identity.”

“We strongly urge all Americans to reject scapegoating groups or targeting innocent Americans based on their racial, ethnic or religious identity,” Khera said in a public statement cited by Politico website.

Linda Sarsour, the national advocacy director of the National Network for Arab American Communities, said that “an attack on one is an attack on all.”

“The Arab American community stands in solidarity with the people of Boston and all Americans,” Sarsour said in a public statement.

“We hope the takeaway from this tragic event is to deepen our relationships as Americans and protect each other from senseless hate-filled attacks.

“An attack on one is an attack on us all.”

Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.

An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.

Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, many Muslims have complained of facing discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.

US Muslims Condemn Boston Attacks

Muslims, Boston, attacks, marathonUS Muslims have strongly condemned deadly bombings targeting an international marathon in Boston, calling for extending help and prayers for the victims of the cowardly attacks.

“American Muslims, like Americans of all backgrounds, condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s cowardly bomb attack on participants and spectators of the Boston Marathon,” Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net on Tuesday, April 16.

“We urge people of all faiths to pray for the victims and their loved ones and for the speedy recovery of those injured.

“We also call for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators,” Awad said.

Two explosions rocked near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least three people and injured 140 others.

At least 17 people are critically wounded, and the injuries include several amputations.

One of the dead was an eight-year-old boy, US media said.

No information is yet available about those behind the attack and their motives.

“ISNA is shocked and saddened to hear about the blasts at the Boston Marathon this afternoon,” the Islamic Society of North America said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.

“Our prayers are with the victims and their loved ones.

“While it is still unclear who carried out these attacks, we pray that our law enforcement officials will be able to swiftly apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”

Dr. Syed Wasimul Haque, the president of the United Maryland Muslim Council, has also condemned the “cowardly terrorist act”.

“The Muslims of Maryland condemn the terrorist act in Boston which took the lives of two Americans and injured many spectators during the Boston marathon event,” he said in a statement.

“The Muslims along with the rest of the nation are deeply saddened and distressed by this cowardly terrorist act which targeted innocent victims of this event which was supposed to forge friendship and brotherhood among participants from different nations and from within our country.”

Muslim Prayers

Muslim leaders have called for prayers and blood donation campaigns for the victims.

“While spiritual measures can serve to comfort those in physical and emotional pain, we also call on Muslims and others in the Boston area to donate blood through the Red Cross as a concrete show of support for the bomb attack victims,” Awad said.

“Those who were participating in the marathon or were watching the event should contact authorities with any potential eyewitness information they may have.”

The Muslim community in Maryland has also called for support for the victims and their families.

“The Muslims have always stood shoulder to shoulder during perilous times that our nation has faced and will do so in the future as well against all terrorist attacks,” Haque, a Frederick physician, said.

“These terrorist attacks do nothing but strengthen our resolve to fight back such cowardly act and unite us more as a nation.

“Our prayers go out for the fallen victims and to the city of Boston. May the families of the victims have the forbearance and may the inflicted recover from their injuries quickly.

“We hope and pray that the criminal or criminals who committed this heinous act are caught soon and brought to justice and punished to the greatest extent according to the laws of our country.”

Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.

An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.

US Muslim Outreach Defy Islamophobia

Recalling past 9/11 worries, American Muslims fear a new wave of Islamophobic attacks incited by the recent wave of Muslim protests worldwide against a film defaming Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).

“We get told a lot to ‘go home,’ and it is sometimes very difficult to hear that,” Adam Soltani, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)’s Oklahoma Chapter, told The Oklahoman on Saturday, September 22.”

A native Kansan raised in Oklahoma, Soltani said he has been told to “go home” more times that he can count following a huge wave of anti-America protests around the world over an anti-prophet film.

The film, entitled “Innocence of Muslims”, portrays the Prophet as a fool, philanderer and a religious fake.

The movie was promoted by US pastor Terry Jones, who angered Muslims in 2010 with plans to burn the Noble Qur’an.

The film triggered protests in several countries around the world, which left at least 14 people dead, including the US ambassador in Libya.

While condemning the provocative film, Muslim leaders around the world have denounced attacks on foreign diplomatic missions, calling for a measured response to the movie.

Saudi Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh said Saturday that attacks on foreign embassies over the film run counter to the peaceful teachings of Islam.

Though the US ambassador’s death was widely condemned by US Muslims, protests overshadowed the religious minority, fearing retaliation from non-Muslims.

Imad Enchassi, imam and president of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, said American Muslims grieved for their fallen countrymen just like others across the country, but their grief was laced with fear of verbal attacks, hate mail and even a violent attack at their local mosques.

“We have our own alert system and we become particularly concerned for our children,” Enchassi, 47, said.

Donning hijab, a Muslim headscarf, Jenell Mapp-Maynard, 28, operations manager for CAIR-Oklahoma, said women were easily identifiable as Muslims.

Therefore, they were getting the larger share of verbal attacks, she added.

Outreach

Working hard to overcome negative reactions of protests, the Muslim minority in Oklahoma was extending their hands to the wider community.

Sheryl Siddiqui, of Tulsa, spokeswoman for the Islamic Council of Oklahoma, said her work included reassuring Oklahoma Muslims who become filled with “righteous indignation” when some non-Muslims cast Islam in a negative light.

“They wouldn’t do it (violence), they condemn it, but they still get accused of it,” the spokeswoman of the council of state mosques and Islamic schools that serves more than 35,000 Muslims in Oklahoma, said.

Siddiqui accused the media of ignoring interfaith projects and day-to-day peaceful interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide, focusing only on negative examples of the Muslim community.

Dispelling myths about Islam, CAIR-Oklahoma, a Muslim advocacy organization, has recently launched a campaign to distribute free copies of a PBS documentary about Prophet Muhammad.

Soltani said the distribution of “Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet,” along with a new website soon to be launched, will go a long way toward educating non-Muslims about who Prophet Muhammad was and the peaceful tenets of Islam.

Soltani hopes the free documentary DVD his organization is distributing helps to combat both the anti-Islamic tone of the film and the resurgence of myths about Muslims that occurred after the Americans were killed in Libya.

He said in Oklahoma, with incidents such as a paintball attack in July on an Oklahoma City mosque more of the exception to the rule, his organization wants to share a film that depicts a balanced view of the life of Prophet.

“When the mosque was paint-balled, they got flowers (from non-Muslim supporters),” the Edmond Santa Fe High School and University of Central Oklahoma graduate said.

“We really wanted to reach out to Oklahoma because Oklahoma has shown so much kindness, love, friendliness and acceptance to us.

“We want to be accepted as part of this society, as people who contribute in a positive way.”

US Muslims Relive 9/11 Experience

Muslims, 9/11, discrimination, hate, BostonRecalling the bad memories of post-9/11 discrimination, US Muslims are now experiencing harassment and anxiety in the wake of deadly attacks in Boston.

“American Muslims, along with all other Americans, are grieving the tragic deaths in Boston,” Ibrahim Hooper, National Communications Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.

“Hate incidents are troubling, but have thankfully been isolated.”

Twin bombings rocked Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, killing at least three people and injured scores.

Days after the attacks, the FBI has released images of two people in relation to the bombings.

Among the suspects is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old of a Chechen origin, who escaped a shootout with police in which a second suspect died.

Heavily armed police have started a house by house search for the suspects, calling on residents of Watertown and surrounding areas, including the whole of Boston, to stay indoors.

Though Muslims inside the US and abroad have condemned the Boston attacks, hate incidents were reported following the bombings.

A mother of Middle Eastern heritage wearing hijab was assaulted on Wednesday morning in Malden, Massachusetts, by a white male shouting anti-Muslim slurs.

The victim said the attack occurred while she was walking with another Muslim woman also wearing hijab, while both were pushing baby strollers.

“He was screaming ‘F___ you Muslims! You are terrorists! I hate you! You are involved in the Boston explosions! F___ you!’” Malden resident Heba Abolaban recalled.

“Oh my lord, I was extremely shocked.”

Abolaban said the man, described as white, in his thirties, and wearing dark sunglasses, kept shouting and walking toward her as she backed away, according to the Malden Patch article.

Guilty Till Proven Innocent

A Bangladeshi man was also beaten by white Americans at New York City Applebee’s because of the color of his skin.

“One of the guys asked if I was Arab. I just shook my head, said like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ I didn’t even know that [the] Boston [bombing] happened because I had a busy day,” Abdullah Faruque, 30, told The New York Post.

“Before I could grab the door, they started swinging at me,” the network engineer said of the 90-second beatdown.

“I’ve been jumped before. If you can’t win, you back up, you try to protect yourself.”

The victim was punched in the head and body, resulting in a dislocated shoulder.

The victim said he went home and turned on the TV, and only then learned about the bombing and put two and two together.

“I saw the news, and then it hits me: That’s why I got jumped,” he said.

Recording the growing anti-Muslim attacks, police in Wayland assured the president of the Islamic Center of Boston that police would be visible near the Center this week, according to Wayland Patch.

“We do increase our presence there, mostly just for the comfort of the people that go there,” Wayland Police Chief Robert Irving said.

“It reminds me of after 9/11, I did the same thing. I want to make sure they understand we’ll be extra vigilant and make sure their people and property are safe.”

The police move was praised by Muslim activists.

“We thank the Malden Police Department for its swift and professional response to this incident and urge national law enforcement authorities to be aware of the potential for other such attacks,” Hooper said.

Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.

An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.

Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, many Muslims have complained of facing discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.

CAIR on Boston Bombings (Interview): CAIR Florida’s Executive Director Mr. Hassan Shibly

by Shahira Mahran (OnIslam.net’s Staff)

Interview with CAIR on the Boston BombingsWith the explosion of any terrorist attack in the US, Islamophobia explodes in the face of US Muslims and their faith accusing them of supporting terrorism. The reaction to the recent Boston bombings is another example of such misunderstanding and stereotyping that act against sustaining a harmonious US community where Muslims are an integral part of.

OnIslam.net took those concerns along with other inquiries about the US government policies against US Muslims to CAIR Florida’s Executive Director Mr. Hassan Shibly in an attempt to expose the truth.

With academic degrees in Political Science and Law, Mr. Shibly vibrant life is dedicated for the protection of civil rights of all Americans including Muslims. As a lawyer, he was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2011 as well as being admitted to practice in Florida’s federal courts in April 2012.

OnIslam.net (OI): Is Islam a foreign religion in the US? Can Muslims be American?

Hassan Shibly: The US is one of the best places in the world to practice Islam and Islam has a very rich history in the US. Muslims first visited the US long before Columbus. There is in fact strong evidence that some of the Native American tribes practiced Islam or were otherwise heavily influenced by Muslim practices.

John Adams, one of the founding fathers of the US praised the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in 1776 as a “sober inquirer of truth.” He even went on to sign a treaty as US President declaring that the US had no “character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility” of Muslims. George Washington, America’s first president, was very clear that Muslims should be free and welcome to work in the US.

Benjamin Franklin said that even the “Mufti of Constantinople” should be welcome and free to preach Islam in America. Even today, the Library of Congress has a copy of the translation of the Quran read by Thomas Jefferson. Congressman Keith Ellison used that translation of the Quran to be sworn in as the first American Muslim Congressman. Morocco, a Muslim country, was the first nation to recognize the US as an independent nation. Muslims even fought during the American Civil War. Muslims are an important and an inseparable part of the fabric of American history.

Islamic ideals compliment many of the values that we as Americans honor today. Principles like freedom of religion, the presumption of innocence, the rules of just war, and honoring justice, have been adopted into American values from and heavily influenced by Islamic thought and thinkers.

Islam teaches always speaking the truth, respecting diversity, working with interfaith groups to advance justice, and having mercy on all creation. This all in fact makes one a better American. Being American means respecting diversity, freedom, and justice. Islam and traditional American values complement each other.

OI: How would you compare the US Muslim community now and shortly before 9/11?

Shibly: American Muslims have faced discrimination and attacks against Islam long before 9/11. Nonetheless, since 9/11 American Muslims have faced many challenges.

First, the terrible attacks of 9/11 were used to justify invasions of two Muslim countries that lead to the death or injury of millions. Second, the civil rights and freedom of speech of American Muslims have been severely curtailed and Muslims have been subject to enhanced surveillance. Third, American Muslims often face a double standard by the media, politicians, and many in the public.

If an American Christian does an act of terrorism or extreme violence, he is written off as being insane and representing no more than his own twisted mind. Christians are not expected to answer or be held accountable for his crimes. If, on the other hand, a person who happens to be Muslim does an act of terrorism, many point the finger at the entire Muslim community and faith.

Islamophobia was actually higher in 2010 than it was right after 9/11. However, since 2010 we have seen that many of the politicians and media personalities who made a career out of attacking Islam and Muslims lose respect and credibility amongst the mainstream and in-shaa’ Allah the situation is improving.

OI: The suspects of the Boston attacks turned out to be Muslims, again like most attacks since 9/11, do you think it is a coincident?

Shibly: Actually, most terrorist attacks in the US have not been planned by people who have anything to do with Islam. For example, according to the FBI, between 1980-2005, only 6 percent of terrorist attacks in the US involved Muslims. Now even 1 percent is too much, nonetheless, it certainly is not the majority.

Furthermore, American political scientists have made it very clear that those who commit acts of terrorism have nothing to do with religion and are often motivated by political, not religious, reasons. Actually, such attacks can never be justified and truly are nothing more than the result of having a twisted and sick mind.

OI: Which of the following do you think are the major influencing factor(s) motivating the Muslim perpetrators of attacks:

  • Islam
  • Wicked understanding of Islam
  • Islam being  a minority religion in the US
  • US foreign policy
  • US government domestic discriminatory security policy against Muslims
  • All the above
  • None of the above

Protesters_march_in_the_Rally_Against_War_Racism__Islamophobia_to_mark_the_10th_anniversary_of_the_9-11_attacks_on_the_World_Trade_Center_in_New_York_on_Sept._11_2011_-_reutersShibly: None of the above. Domestically, it appears that many of those who engage in plotting acts of terror are ignorant, troubled, and mentally unstable individuals. Some have used disagreement with US foreign policy as justification for their disgusting acts, but the fact remains that such acts are unjustifiable and are due to the individual needing serious mental health counseling more than anything else.

No mentally healthy individual can accept the intentional attack against innocent civilians, especially not in the name of any divine faith.

OI: How do you evaluate the impact of the Boston attacks on the US government policies against US Muslims in terms of freedoms and liberties?

Shibly: It’s too early to tell. Some law makers and government officials have very clearly stated that we must not stereotype and cannot hold an entire community accountable for the acts of a few. Others have already called for increased surveillance of Muslim communities. Time will tell whether reason or hysteria will prevail.

OI: Do the US government current policies against US Muslims help build a patriotic community with a sense of belonging to the country?

Shibly: Some US government policies and actions have helped foster a stronger sense of patriotism and belonging for the Muslim community whereas other actions have been counter-productive and served to act to alienate the community.

Anti-Muslim law enforcement training, spying on Muslims, profiling, harassing, and subjecting American Muslims to enhanced security and questioning while travelling has only served to alienate the community and promote distrust between the community  and law enforcement. Government outreach programs (excluding that of the FBI), round table meetings, and relationship building between elected officials and the Muslim community have served to strengthen relations on the other hand.

OI: If CAIR has the chance to formulate the US government anti-terrorism policy, what would its foundational philosophy be?

Shibly: To profile suspicious actions, not ethnicity or religion. To work with all communities to establish healthy relationships based on trust and mutual respect. To ensure our foreign policy does not radicalize new generations by making sure we do not engage in acts that lead to the deaths of civilians or violations of the sovereignty of independent nations and peoples.  (Tx/HSH)

Source: OnIslam net

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