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American Muslim Leaders Condemn Attacks

Photo from the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA): ISNA Condemns Violence in Egypt and Libya and Mourns the Death of U.S. Ambassador Stevens and other Americans; Denounces the Creation of a Profane Video of the Prophet Muhammad (“peace be upon him,” as Muslims say after his name). Imam Mohamed Magid is pictured in the center of the image. Photo from ISNA website.

by Laurie Goodstein
from New York Times

American Muslim leaders and organizations rushed on Wednesday to condemn the attacks on American diplomatic outposts in Libya and Egypt, issuing news releases and giving interviews that seemed aimed as much at an American audience as at Muslims overseas.

Referring to the anti-Muslim video at the center of the attacks that is believed to be American-made, they said that no matter how offensive the film, violence was unjustified and even un-Islamic. They stressed repeatedly that the film did not represent Americans’ attitudes toward Islam and Muslims. And they said they were appalled that a film that they said was so clearly intended to incite hatred and anger toward the United States had succeeded in doing so.

Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America, an umbrella group of American mosques, denounced the violence at a news conference in Washington, appearing alongside a rabbi, a Baptist minister and the Libyan ambassador to the United States, Ali Aujali.

Mr. Magid said in a telephone interview that he and other American Muslim leaders had been contacting Muslim scholars in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Mauritania to tell them that those who made the film “do not represent the American people.”

He said, “Those who did this act of violence fall into the trap of the people who want them to act that way.”

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September 23rd, 2012 at 1:56 pm

CPWR Chair Named One of the World’s Most Influential Muslims

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, chairman of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, was cited in the latest issue of “The Muslim 500: The World’s Most Influential Muslims” for his efforts to raise awareness and understanding about faith and social issues.

The widely viewed publication from the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, an independent research entity based in Amman, is a comprehensive study of global Muslim leadership in 14 categories including politics, religion, business, science, arts, media, sports, philanthropy and social issues. Imam Mujahid was included on the list for the first time. He is one of eight Americans identified as leaders in the category of Social Issues.

The report credited Imam Mujahid with a range of contributions including his work with broadcast media and his organizing efforts as the former chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago and his current role as chairman of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions. Imam Mujahid, an award-winning author, is the president of Sound Vision in Chicago, which offers multimedia Islamic teaching materials. He is also the executive producer of Chicago’s Radioislam.com and the host of a daily one hour talk program on WCEV 1450 AM.

“His development of the Radio Islam nightly talk show in Chicago is not only a source of support for Muslims, but an important educational link to non-Muslims in the greater Chicago area,” according to “The Muslim 500” publication. “Mujahid speaks with eloquence not only about the destructiveness of Islamophobia but also of the need for all people to come together in a spirit of justice and peace.”

The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, based in Chicago, is an international, non-sectarian, non-profit organization, established in 1988 to host the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions. Since the historic 1893 Parliament in Chicago, modern Parliaments have been held in Chicago (1993), Cape Town (1999), Barcelona (2004) and Melbourne (2009). These periodic Parliament events are the world’s oldest and largest interreligious gatherings. The next Parliament is expected to draw more than 10,000 religious leaders, scholars, theologians, worshippers, observers and journalists to the city of Brussels in 2014.

Shariah Law: The Five Things Every Non-Muslim (and Muslim) Should Know

By Qasim Rashid
From Huffington Post

1. What does Shariah mean?

Shariah is the law of the Qur’an and literally means “A path to life giving water.” In fact, the word Yarrah (i.e. the root of the Hebrew word Torah) means precisely the same thing. Therefore, Shariah is actually ingrained in Abrahamic tradition.

Shariah is comprised of five main branches: adab (behavior, morals and manners), ibadah (ritual worship), i’tiqadat (beliefs), mu’amalat (transactions and contracts) and ‘uqubat (punishments). These branches combine to create a society based on justice, pluralism and equity for every member of that society. Furthermore, Shariah forbids that it be imposed on any unwilling person. Islam’s founder, Prophet Muhammad, demonstrated that Shariah may only be applied if people willingly apply it to themselves–never through forced government implementation.

Additionally, the Qur’an does not promote any specific form of government, but requires that the form people choose must be based on adl or “absolute justice.” The Qur’an says, “Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency and manifest evil and transgression. He admonishes you that you may take heed” (16:91). Notice, religious preference is never mentioned. Therefore, in ruling with absolute justice, for example, the righteous Jewish King Solomon ruled as a just monarch based on this fundamental principle of Shariah Law–justice.

2. Do Muslims want Shariah to rule America?

No. Remember, the Qur’an teaches that religion must not be a matter of the state. Shariah is a personal relationship with God. Prophet Muhammad, even as the de facto ruler of Arabia, wrote the Charter of Medina in which Muslims were held to Shariah Law, and Jews to the Law of the Torah. Not a single non-Muslim was held to Shariah because Shariah itself forbids compulsion. The Qur’an clearly says, “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:257). Furthermore, Shariah obliges Muslims to be loyal to their nation of residence. Therefore, American Muslims must adhere to the US Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

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November 19th, 2011 at 10:35 am

Islamophobic Bullying in Our Schools

Engy Abdelkader
from Huffington Post

“You boys were so much fun on the 8th grade trip! Thanks for not bombing anything while we were there!” read the yearbook inscription penned by the middle school teacher.

The eighth grade yearbook was littered with similar remarks by classmates linking Omar to a “bomb.”

“To my bomb man!” read one note. “Come wire my bomb,” read another.

“What is this?” asked Omar’s mother incredulously. He had handed the yearbook over to her moments earlier when he arrived home that afternoon.

Omar answered quietly, “I know, Mom, I know.” He stared down at the kitchen floor. His eyes could not meet his mother’s but he began to tell her what had happened just one month earlier.

In May 2009, Omar joined his classmates on a school trip to Washington, D.C. As they toured the Washington Monument, visited area museums and passed by the White House, the kids repeatedly told Omar they hoped he wouldn’t “bomb” any of the sites. A teacher chaperoned the children, heard the comments and responded by doing… well, nothing, except leave a denigrating remark in Omar’s yearbook a month later.

It was clear to Omar’s mother that her American born and raised son was harassed because of his Muslim faith and Arab ancestry.

Unfortunately, this was not the first bias-based bullying incident involving Omar that school year. Only several months earlier a peer was intimidating Omar, calling him a “terrorist,” during an elective trade course. Omar finally told his mother about the bullying when his report card indicated that he was failing that same class, while acing the others where he was not subjected to such humiliating treatment.

Omar’s mother had addressed the bullying with the school Vice-Principal immediately afterwards.

But, when she spoke to her son’s school Principal regarding the D.C. trip and subsequent offensive yearbook comments (by a school teacher), the Principal was shocked to learn that Omar had been a prior victim of bullying earlier in the academic year. He had no knowledge of that incident in his school.

While the Principal assured her that he would take proper action against the offending teacher, nothing actually happened. The teacher denied hearing the bomb-related comments during the field trip to D.C. and excused her yearbook note as a “joke.”

Click here to read the full article

Imam Examines Current Relations between Law Enforcement and Muslims

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid

from NPR’s Worldview

CPWR Board Chair Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid is interviewed about 9/11’s impact on American Muslims.

In a 2003 article, he likened the situation for Muslim Americans to a “virtual internment camp.” Although he says law enforcement outreach has been strong locally, Mujahid wants to see more engagement on the national level.

Click here to listen to the interview

Has Religion Driven Us Apart or Drawn Us Together?

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush
from Huffington Post

Two religious responses from the days immediately following the attacks of 9/11 demonstrate how religion has been both a divisive and unifying force in America over the last ten years.

The first was from Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell who assigned blame for the attacks to God who, they explained, was angry at America because of Gays, Feminists and the ACLU, among others. While fires still smoldered at Ground Zero, Falwell and company were ironically fanning the flames of discord and division by blaming God and liberals instead of religious extremism.

The second response was different. As soon as reports made clear that the terrorists claimed allegiance to the fundamentalist Islam of Osama bin Laden, many feared violence might be directed toward the American Muslim population. Yet in the days after 9/11, reports came from all across the country that Christians, Jews, and other people of faith had called local mosques to offer support and solidarity. Instead of turning against Muslims, the religious community rallied for their fellow Americans of a different faith tradition.

These two examples show the simultaneous yet divergent directions that religious practice and thought has taken in America in the last ten years. 9/11 made it clear that religion, which had been ignored in global political calculations and overlooked by the media for decades, was still a force, and perhaps the force in people’s personal and communal lives.

While many still hold that religion is essentially divisive, since 9/11 it has been clear that religion has been an overwhelmingly positive force to bring people from different backgrounds together within American society.

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Why Catholics must speak out against Islamophobia

by Jeanne Clark
from the National Catholic Reporter

Political spectacles and demagoguery are all too common in Washington. My Congressman, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), continues this shameful tradition by sponsoring hearings on Capitol Hill this week that will demonize Muslim Americans, undermine interfaith dialogue and distract us from practical efforts to confront violent extremism.

As a Catholic sister from Long Island, I stand with a broad spectrum of faith leaders who believe that fighting terrorism must never mean compromising our nation’s core values and highest ideals.

King’s sweeping investigation of “radicalization” in the American Muslim community should be especially denounced by Catholics, whose ancestors here battled vile stereotypes and even charges of disloyalty.

While it may seem like ancient history these days, natavist mobs once burned Catholic churches. Political cartoons such as Thomas Nast’s “The American River Ganges” savaged Catholic bishops as suspicious pawns of Rome. Signs in shop windows reminding Irish that they need not apply for work were a visible reminder of Catholic immigrants’ second-class status.

Today, a toxic climate of Islamophobia stigmatizes Muslims. Many women on Long Island who because of their faith wear the hijab (head covering) are afraid to go to the grocery store alone.

Recently, in an affluent Long Island community, an email circulated throughout the neighborhood warning people that a terrorist had moved into the area. Muslim children in a local school were shunned by students. Across the country, hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise and many communities have opposed mosques.

This prejudice diminishes us all and undermines our nation’s commitment to equality and religious pluralism. In my experience relating to and working with Muslims on Long Island, I’m inspired by my neighbors’ commitment to worship in peace and teach their children to love America. I have seen their dedication to serve others, especially those with few resources, and a desire to work in solidarity with Christians and Jews for nonviolent solutions to conflicts.

Click here to read the full article

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Bringing Imams to Auschwitz

From The Huffington Post

We are passing through a season of singular national distemper where, for reasons best understood by social psychiatrists, the American people have entered into what can only be described as “open season” on Islam. Mosques everywhere, not just the “Ground Zero” mosque, are under attack; voters in Oklahoma have amended their state constitution to forbid state courts from considering Sharia law in their decisions (not that they had any intention of mastering that sophisticated legal corpus); otherwise “liberal” communicators debate whether First Amendment protections extend to followers of the Prophet Mohammed; and Muslims everywhere worry (rightfully) whether they have a place in the American mosaic.

Saddest to me, as a Jew, are the number of my co-religionists who are riding point on this peculiar crusade.

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