Chronology of Islam in America (2012)
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Obama signs indefinite detention into law
Jan 1: On the new year’s eve (December 31) when most U.S. citizens were distracted with New Year's holiday plans, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. This law authorizes the President of the United States to order the U.S. military to arrest and imprison terrorism suspects indefinitely, including U.S. citizens, without charging them or putting them on trial. In other words, the President could now arbitrarily strip you of your right to due process. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the bill also contains provisions "making it difficult to transfer suspects out of military detention, which prompted FBI Director Robert Mueller to testify that it could jeopardize criminal investigations." Obama issued a signing statement expressing "serious reservations" regarding some of the provisions of the bill. But he signed it anyway. He did not veto it, as he could have done. Anthony D. Romero, the ACLU's executive director, summarized the danger that this new law presents: "The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield." [By Mary Shaw - OpEdNews]
R.I.P. Bill of Rights 1789 - 2011
Jan 1: One of the most extraordinary documents in human history -- the Bill of Rights -- has come to an end under President Barack Obama. Derived from sacred principles of natural law, the Bill of Rights has come to a sudden and catastrophic end with the President's signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a law that grants the U.S. military the "legal" right to conduct secret kidnappings of U.S. citizens, followed by indefinite detention, interrogation, torture and even murder. This is all conducted completely outside the protection of law, with no jury, no trial, no legal representation and not even any requirement that the government produce evidence against the accused. It is a system of outright government tyranny against the American people, and it effectively nullifies the Bill of Rights. In what will be remembered as the most traitorous executive signing ever committed against the American people, President Obama signed the bill on New Year's Eve, a time when most Americans were engaged in the consumption of alcohol. It seems appropriate, of course, since no intelligent American could accept the tyranny of this bill if they were sober. This is the law that will cement Obama's legacy in the history books as the traitor who nullified the Bill of Rights and paved America's pathway down a road of tyranny that will make Nazi Germany's war crimes look like child's play. If Bush had signed a law like this, liberals would have been screaming "impeachment!" While the U.S. Constitution already limits the power of federal government, the Bill of Rights is the document that enumerates even more limits of federal government power. In its inception, many argued that a Bill of Rights was completely unnecessary because, they explained, the federal government only has the powers specifically enumerated to it under the U.S. Constitution. There was no need to have a "First Amendment" to protect Free Speech, for example, because there was no power granted to government to diminish Free Speech. [By Mike Adams - Counter Current]
The Religious Right’s Attack on Religious Minorities
Jan 4: The Religious Right says frequently that America is a Christian nation (despite ample evidence to the contrary), so anyone who doesn’t share that movement’s belief in its special brand of Christianity is often marginalized. The best example of attempts by the Religious Right to marginalize minorities is anti-sharia legislation. In 2010, Oklahoma passed the so-called “Save Our State Amendment,” which bars enforcement of Islamic law. It received 70 percent of the vote. Church-state experts note that the U.S. Constitution already bars government support for religion in most cases, so such legislation is unnecessary. The law has been challenged in court on the grounds that it singles out Muslims for discrimination. Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in May, and it is now before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. While Oklahoma has taken one of the rashest stances in discriminating against Muslims, it is clear that many other elements of the Religious Right would like to see similar laws enforced nationwide and could make a push for that in 2012. [Church & State Magazine]
Homeland Security monitors American Journalists
Jan 9: Under the National Operations Center (NOC)’s Media Monitoring Initiative that emerged from the Department of Homeland Security in November, Washington has written permission to collect and retain personal information from journalists, news anchors, reporters or anyone who uses “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”According to DHS, the definition of personal identifiable information can consist of any intellect “that permits the identity of an individual to be directly or indirectly inferred, including any information which is linked or linkable to that individual.”Previously established guidelines within the administration say that data could only be collected under authorization set forth by written code, but the new provisions in the NOC’s write-up means that any reporter, whether someone along the lines of Walter Cronkite or a budding blogger, can be victimized by the agency. Also included in the roster of those subjected to the spying are government officials, domestic or not, who make public statements, private sector employees that do the same and “persons known to have been involved in major crimes of Homeland Security interest,” which to itself opens up the possibilities even wider. The website “Fast Company” reports that the NOC Monitoring Initiative has been in play since at least early-2010 and that the data is being shared with both private sector businesses and international third parties. [The Blaze]
Federal court deals blow to “anti-Muslim” bigots
Jan 10: In a major blow to the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim bigots taking refuge behind the so-called anti-Sharia legislation, a federal appeals court on January 10, 2012 agreed with a lower court that blocked an Oklahoma law that would have barred state courts from considering or using the so-called Shariah law. In the November 2010 election, Oklahomans voted overwhelmingly for referendum SQ 755 -- described by its author, Rep. Rex Duncan, as "a preemptive strike against Sharia Law coming to Oklahoma." The constitutional amendment stated that: "The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law." Since the November 2010 Oklahoma ‘anti-Sharia’ law similar bills were introduced in around 20 states nationwide. The bills were patterned on a template produced by leading Islamophobe David Yerushalmi, a 56-year-old Hasidic Jew, who founded an organization in 2006 with the acronym SANE (the Society of Americans for National Existence) with the aim of banishing Islam from the US. He proposed a law that would make adherence to Islam a felony punishable by 20 years in prison. In February 2011 Tennessee State Senator Bill Ketron and Representative Judd Matheny (both Republicans) had introduced similar bills to make it illegal to follow Islamic moral code which includes religious practices like feet-washing and prayers.
The new Oklahoma law — which was widely considered as unfairly targeting the Muslim community and blaming it for the non-existent threat of Sharia law in the United states — was challenged by Oklahoma resident Muneer Awad, a Muslim. In his law suit Awad charged that the law violated his First Amendment rights. In addition to stigmatizing him and other Muslims, Awad argued, the amendment would invalidate his last will and testament, which made reference to Islamic writings. Federal judge in Oklahoma, Vicki Miles-LaGrange, agreed that the amendment was most likely unconstitutional and granted a permanent injunction preventing its implementation until a final determination could be made. The judge argued that the Sharia ban was unconstitutional because it violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment and unfairly singled out Muslims.
On January 10, 2012, a judge for the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colo., agreed with the lower court and upheld the injunction -- rejecting an appeal by the state of Oklahoma. "Because the amendment discriminates among religions, it is 'suspect,'" the higher court ruled, "and 'we apply strict scrutiny in adjudging its constitutionality.'" "While the public has an interest in the will of the voters being carried out ... the public has a more profound and long-term interest in upholding an individual's constitutional rights," the 10th U.S. Court of Appeals said. The Denver-based court ruled 3-0 that the rights of an Oklahoma City Muslim, Muneer Awad, likely would be violated if the ban on Shariah law takes effect. "When the law that voters wish to enact is likely unconstitutional, their interests do not outweigh Mr. Awad's in having his constitutional rights protected," the judges wrote in a 37-page decision. [AMP Comment]
What Does Homeland Security Read?
Jan 12: For the last year, the Department of Homeland Security has been routinely monitoring social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even MySpace. It is an avid reader of The Huffington Post, Jihad Watch, Technorati and, oddly, TruckingInfo.com. But apparently it has no interest in Techmeme and TechCrunch. This according to a “social media monitoring and situational awareness initiative update” released by the Department of Homeland Security. The document, which has left some people in the computer security industry scratching their heads, details over 100 sites that Homeland Security’s National Operations Center has been monitoring “to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture” for the last year. Homeland Security seems to have a real affinity for Twitter. It advises its employees to follow not only Twitter itself but also Twitter search sites like Monitter, Tweetzi and Tweefind and more than 10 Twitter trend sites like TweetStats and Trendistic. It monitors Facebook and, while it also recommends monitoring MySpace, it notes the once-popular social network has “limited search” capabilities. Homeland Security employees also monitor video sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Hulu — “situational awareness” apparently entails full episodes of “The Bachelor.” Among the blogs the department follows: Wired’s Threat Level and Danger Room, Krebs on Security and, at The New York Times, The Lede blog. The list also includes more controversial sites like JihadWatch, Wikileaks and “Narcotráfico en México.” [New York Time]
Homeland Security is reading and recording every keystroke
Jan 13: With so many of our most essential liberties under attack from the oligarchy on the Potomac, it is little wonder that the freedom of the press and speech are next on the government guillotine. The Department of Homeland Security’s National Operations Center (NOC) released its Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative last year and in that report the intelligence-gathering arm of the DHS, the Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) gives itself permission to “gather, store, analyze, and disseminate” data on millions of users of social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) and business networking sites (Linkedin). Specifically, the Initiative sets out the plan and purpose behind the DHS’s collection of personal information from news anchors, journalists, reporters, or anyone else who posts articles, comments, or other information to many popular web outlets. The report defines the target audience as anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.” Journalists and bloggers need not worry, however. DHS promises that it will not routinely gather and use Personally Identifiable Information (PII). From the abstract of the Initiative: While this Initiative is not designed to actively collect Personally Identifiable Information (PII), OPS is conducting this update to the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) because this initiative may now collect and disseminate PII for certain narrowly tailored categories. For example, in the event of an in extremis situation involving potential life and death, OPS will share certain PII with the responding authority in order for them to take the necessary actions to save a life, such as name and location of a person calling for help buried under rubble, or hiding in a hotel room when the hotel is under attack by terrorists. In other words, the government promises that all the personal electronic data that it monitors and records will only be used in “narrowly tailored” circumstances, saving a life, for example. There is no requirement that the data be used only in those instances, but there is a promise that it will be. This unconstitutional, unwarranted search of private information is designed by DHS “to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture” of target audiences. [The New American]
Alabama Anti-Shariah Bill Penned by Key Islamophobe
Jan 13: An Alabama state senator plans to introduce a constitutional amendment that would ban state courts from looking to Islamic Shariah law in adjudicating cases, Hatewatch has learned.Republican Senator Cam Ward pre-filed the “American and Alabama Laws for Alabama Courts Amendment” with the state Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 4. The amendment’s language is clearly drawn from model legislation drafted by anti-Muslim lawyer David Yerushalmi, who equates Shariah with Islamic radicalism so totally that he advocates criminalizing virtually any personal practice that is compliant with Shariah. His “American Laws for American Courts” initiative enjoys support from Muslim-hating blogger Pam Geller, who plumbed new depths of foulness this week by expressing her “love” for the U.S. marines who were videotaped urinating on dead Taliban combatants. Yerushalmi, who says the “War on Terror” should be a war against Islam “and all Muslim faithful,” has also proposed to outlaw Islam and deport Muslims and other “non-Western, non-Christian” people to protect the United States’ “national character.”
Ward apparently shares Yerushalmi’s dislike of immigrants. The Alabama lawmaker is a member of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), a national coalition that attributes to “illegal aliens” what it describes as “[i]ncreasingly documented incidences of homicide, identity theft, property theft, serious infectious diseases, drug running, gang violence, human trafficking, terrorism and growing cost to taxpayers.” Since its founding in 2007, SLLI has taken a leading role in fostering xenophobic intolerance in statehouses across the nation. The group works hand-in-glove with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-immigrant hate group whose legal arm devised the draconian immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama, portions of which have been enjoined by courts concerned about their constitutionality. Though Ward did not introduce Alabama’s immigration enforcement law, he has been a vocal supporter of the measure, which is widely viewed as the harshest of its kind.
Ward is not the first Alabama lawmaker to introduce an anti-Shariah measure. In 2011, Republican state Senator Gerald Allen sponsored SB 62, a virtual replica of Oklahoma’s notorious anti-Shariah “Save Our State” amendment, which was struck down on Tuesday by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Allen’s proposal, which singled out Shariah law as its principle target, was not taken up for consideration before last year’s legislative session ended. Ward may stand a better chance of success. According to the Public Policy Alliance, which hired Yerushalmi to write the “American Laws for American Courts” model legislation, versions of the law have already been passed in Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona. Unlike Oklahoma’s amendment, none were immediately enjoined. The Public Policy Alliance describes its creation in explicitly anti-Muslim terms, claiming on its website, “we are preserving individual liberties and freedoms which become eroded by the encroachment of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, such as Shariah.” But the legislation itself does not contain any reference to Shariah law or Islam, thus avoiding the issue that immediately flagged Oklahoma’s legislation as unconstitutional.[Southern Poverty Law Center]
While desecration of Bodies is widely condemned
Anti-Muslim blogger ‘loves’ Marines peeing on dead Taliban
Jan 13: A video clip that appears to show Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters has been condemned by U.S. officials, the Pentagon, Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Taliban leaders and American Muslim groups but Pamela Geller, an anti-Islam and anti-Muslim blogger. In her blog “Atlas Shrugs,” Geller has written that she loves the four U.S. Marines, who were seen in a recent video urinating on three Taliban corpses. “I love these Marines. Perhaps this is the infidel interpretation of the Islamic ritual of washing and preparing the body for burial,” Geller wrote on her blog Atlas Shrugs. She compared the Taliban soldiers to Nazis, asking if anyone would have cared if they were urinated on during WWII. The footage was posted on YouTube under the username “semperfiLoneVoice” that apparently refers to the Marine Corps motto “semper fidelis” or “always faithful.” A Marine official in San Diego was quoted as saying that the four seen in the video were members of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, which returned to its home base in North Carolina last fall after a tour in Afghanistan. No doubt the video may be an isolated incident but it could have a far reaching impact on the way people in the Middle East and around the world view Americans. The video will also provide a new anti-American propaganda tool. [AMP Report]
Washington State Muslims meet lawmakers on MLK Day
Jan 16: Some 400 Washington State Muslims celebrated the 5th annual Muslim Day at the Capitol today and meet with dozens of their elected representatives. The event, one of the largest of its kind in the nation, was organized by the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA). The event was designed to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his defense of civil rights through positive civic engagement. According to the News Tribune, participants in Muslim’s Day at the Capitol rallied on the steps for lawmakers to act against Islamophobia and protect basic services from budget cuts. The group spoke with individual legislators, and is seeking support for a proposal it hopes will prevent anti-Sharia laws by clarifying that state and U.S. laws are not threatened by religious or international ones, the paper added. Muslim voters attending the event were representing 33 of the 49 state legislative districts. They provided information about recent anti-Muslim incidents and urged their legislators to speak out against Islamophobic rhetoric and hate crimes. Participants also urged legislators to take action on other issues, including preserving critical public programs and having a balanced approach to the state budget. They also presented the legislators and their staff with a copy of the English translation of the Quran. CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari believes that such events provide an opportunity for Muslims from the majority of the state’s legislative districts to learn more about the political process and to meet their elected representatives. [AMP Report]
Newt Gingrich plays “Sharia” card
Jan 17: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says that he would only support a Muslim for the presidency if that person would "commit in public to give up Sharia." Gingrich was addressing a town hall audience in South Carolina today. At the town hall meeting in West Columbia, S.C., a man asked: "Would you endorse...a Muslim-American, [who] could possibly be running for president, given that we had a woman running for president in Hillary Clinton, and we had a Jewish-American, in Joe Lieberman, running for vice president?" A truly modern person who happened to worship Allah would not be a threat, Gingrich replied but added: "A person who belonged to any kind of belief in Sharia, any kind of effort to impose that on the rest of us, would be a mortal threat."According to Huffington Post, in the past, Gingrich has repeatedly decried Sharia, a legal code derived from Islam, and called for a federal law to pre-emptively bar its use in any U.S. courts. He didn't soften his position today, saying his support would be contingent on a candidate's willingness to denounce Sharia. "I think it would depend entirely on whether they would commit in public to give up Sharia," he said, referencing his support for the bill and drawing cheers from listeners at the event. "If they're a modern person integrated into the modern world, and they're prepared to recognize all religions, that's one thing. On the other hand, if they're the Saudis, who demand that we respect them while they refuse to allow either a Jew or a Christian to worship in Saudi Arabia, that's something different." He pointed to an acquaintance as an example of a "truly modern" Muslim. "We have a friend in Arizona who serves in the U.S. Navy, who's a medical doctor, who's Muslim -- but he's a totally modern person, trying to find ways to bring Islam into modernity," Gingrich said. [AMP Report]
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