Two Muslim men have challenged the New York Police Department’s cloak of secrecy over NYPD surveillance of Muslim mosques and student groups. The men’s case went to the New York Court of Appeals here on Feb. 6, with more than 30 supporters filling the spectator seats. The men’s lawyer demanded to know why New York state’s Freedom of Information Law request for the spy documents was met with an evasive NYPD response that it could “neither confirm nor deny” that such documents even existed. The NYPD has a long history of spying on civil rights organizers and anti-war activists, as well as leftist organizations and members. A 1971 federal lawsuit put in place guidelines that supposedly prohibit the NYPD from collecting information on political speech unless it is related to “terrorism.”
Veterans For Peace and the Veterans Challenge Islamophobia campaign are participating in the We Are All America week of action from January 27th through February 3rd to protest the one-year anniversary of the first iteration of the Muslim Ban and show solidarity with those still impacted by the current bans on people from nine Muslim-majority nations and refugees. Although all versions of the ban have been ruled to be discriminatory by multiple courts, Muslim Ban 3.0 is currently in effect and is causing heartbreak for American families and their relatives abroad. The Trump administration has also cracked down on refugee admissions by instituting more burdensome screening requirements, lowering the United States’ annual refugee cap to 45,000, and proposing more limits on family reunification.
By Staff. Bloomington, MN - "Bloomington police were called to the Islamic center at 5:05 am on Saturday after reports of an explosion. 'When officers and fire personnel arrived, what they found there was some smoke, some damage to the building, but no one was injured,' Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said at a news conference on Saturday. Asad Zaman, director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, said a witness had seen someone throwing an object at the imam’s office window from a van or a truck. Mohamed Omar, the mosque’s executive director, told reporters a member saw someone leave in a truck shortly after the blast. 'One of our congregation members came out immediately and saw a truck fleeing … at high speed...
By Sabrina Siddiqui for The Guardian. A wave of anti-Muslim rallies planned for almost 30 cities across the US on Saturday by far-right activists has drawn sharp criticism from civil rights groups and inspired counter-protests nationwide. A number of small protests took place and in many places, including New York and Chicago, a few dozen “anti-Sharia” demonstrators were outnumbered by counter-protesters. Hundreds of counter-protesters marched through Seattle on Saturday to confront a few dozen people claiming Sharia was incompatible with western freedoms. The counter protesters banged drums, cymbals and cowbells behind a large sign saying “Seattle stands with our Muslim neighbors.” Participants chanted “No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here” on their way to City Hall, while a phalanx of bicycle police officers separated them from an anti-Sharia rally.
By Brittany Shannahan for Health Care is a Human Right Maryland. As of the time of writing, a GoFundMe campaign to raise $300,000 for the medical expenses of Micah Fletcher has nearly reached its goal. Fletcher, 21, is the only survivor of the three men who intervened on a racist attack against two girls on a train in Portland, Oregon. The girls were Destinee Mangum, who is Black, and her friend, a Muslim wearing a hijab. A YouCaring page has also been set up to raise money to help them in their recovery: The girls, 16 and 17-years-old, are suffering immense trauma in the aftermath of this tragedy. Although they survived, their lives will never be the same as they were being the targets of hate... Most importantly, funds will go toward mental health services to ensure their mental and emotional welfare.
By Staff for Hands Off Syria Coalition. We call on all peace loving people throughout the world to unite and take action during the International Days of Action (March 11-19) against U.S. intervention in Syria and throughout the Middle East, against Islamophobia, and against the refugee Travel Ban, e.g. Initiate local actions together with civil rights and peace activists — demonstrations, teach-ins, workshops, panel discussions, video presentations — to oppose War, occupation and Islamophobia, and to reveal their connections; Tell the U.S. President Trump and Congress that you oppose the Travel Ban and that you want the U.S. to pursue peaceful relations with Syria, Iran and all the nations of the Middle East; Ask your Congressional Representatives to support Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s bill, (H.R. 608). Please both call your Congressional Representative’s office directly AND sign the petition in support of STOP ARMING TERRORISTS ACT and more.
By Linda Sarsour for The Guardian - Each year, I look so forward to Eid Al Adha – the holiest holiday for Muslims worldwide – but not this year. As I watched my daughters prepare for the celebrations with joy, I learned of a horrific crime. A 36-year-old woman dressed in traditional garb was set on fire on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. She was the same age as me, walking in the city where I was born and raised. This comes at the heels of two Muslim women in Brooklyn who were physically assaulted by a woman as they pushed their babies in strollers.
By Jaweed Kaleem for The Huffington Post - On Thursday afternoon, Salaam Bhatti was near New York’s Times Square, as thousands of Americans who had come from across the world prepared for the iconic New Year’s Eve ball-drop celebration. But Bhatti, a 29-year-old Muslim from Queens who works as an estate planning attorney, wasn’t there just to celebrate the passing of time. Gathered around Bryant Park, a few blocks from the center of the New Year’s festivities that Mayor Bill de Blasio has said will have “extraordinary” security measures to protect against terrorism, Bhatti had come to Manhattan with dozens of Muslims to share his faith as one of peace.
By Sarah Lazare for Common Dreams - Amid rising anti-Muslim attacks across the United States, many from within targeted communities are calling on U.S. society to address the root causes of this violence by examining deep and "structural" Islamophobia, manifested in modern U.S. history—from the War on Terror to the 2016 presidential race. "For some of us, organizing and resisting against this system of anti-Muslim violence is survival," Darakshan Raja, co-founder of the Muslim American Women's Policy Forumand program manager for the Washington Peace Center, told Common Dreams.
By Redefy. This is a compilation of clips from Redefy's conference, #TheGenerationOfNow, held on Sunday, December 13th, 2015. It was an event featuring activists on the imperative nature of racial justice. The event took place at the Carl A. Fields Center for Cultural Understanding and Equality at Princeton University, and was hosted in partnership with Not in Our Town - Princeton and the Princeton University Muslim Life Program. The entire preparation process was coordinated by redefy (an internationally recognized teen organization committed to defying stereotypes/redefining perspectives positively). The effort was spearheaded by Nick Jain (VP of Event Planning), Nicole Hartley (Head Officer of Event Planning), and Ziad Ahmed (Founder and President) who are all Princeton Day School students. The event was also held in commemoration of #HumanRightsDay that took place on December 10th.
By Robert Wilonsky for The Dallas Morning News - The armed protesters who convened outside the Islamic Center of Irving in November are planning a repeat protest Saturday, this time at a mosque in Richardson. And it may not be the last staged by the rifle-toting Bureau on American Islamic Relations. In response, a newly formed task force consisting of Dallas-area religious leaders has released a statement condemning the armed demonstrations. “Today we are deeply concerned that the flourishing of the city of Dallas and all of its citizens is threatened by planned demonstrations at Dallas area mosques on December 12th,” says the statement sent by the Dallas Area Multi-Faith Task Force.
By John Zangas and Anne Meador for DC Media Group - A small group of people incited by recent inflammatory and racist statements against Muslims in the U.S. were outwitted when their plan to burn a Quran in front of the White House went haywire. A counterprotester snatched the Holy Book of Islam out of the hands of one of the self-proclaimed “Sons of Liberty” just as he was about to set the book alight. The would-be Quran-burner, Ernest Sweigert of Baltimore, tore up the few pages left in his hands in frustration as the book-snatcher ran away.
Bethania Palma Markus for Raw Story - A group of armed protesters who wanted to “show force” gathered outside a Texas mosque Saturday in response to rumors about Syrian refugees and Sharia law. The group, calling itself the Bureau of American Islamic Relations, stationed itself outside the Islamic Center of Irving carrying signs with messages like, “Stop the Islamization of America,” according to the Dallas Morning News. A video taken at the mosque shows a man dressed in black with his face masked carrying a rifle.
By Jeff Branscome for The Freelance Star - A meeting Tuesday evening to discuss a proposed Islamic mosque in Spotsylvania County quickly turned combative, with one man proclaiming, “Every Muslim is a terrorist.” Samer Shalaby, a trustee of the Islamic Center of Fredericksburg, began what was advertised as a “community meeting” with a moment of silence for the victims of Friday’s terrorist attack in Paris. After the moment, a man said, “Amen and thank you!” and another person proclaimed “praise God!” Shalaby then started a presentation on the Islamic Center’s plan to build an 8,000-square-foot mosque at the corner of Old Plank Road and Andora Drive.
By M. David and M.A. Hussein for Counter Current News - Saturday saw a nationwide coordinated effort by racists, xenophobes and general Islamaphobic bigots to bully and intimidate Muslims at mosques across the United States. The anti-Muslim sentiments have seemingly been reenergized by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has not shied away from making disturbing statements about America supposedly having “a Muslim problem.” Nearly 30 armed anti-Muslim protests were scheduled to take place at mosques Saturday. Those efforts were initiated by a now notorious Islamaphobe named John Ritzheimer. Ritzheimer is apparently the force behind a Facebook page, duplicitously calling itself “Global Rally for Humanity.”