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Executive Editor:  Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Chronology of Islam in America (2014)
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

January 2014

Fight terrorism -- by changing U.S. foreign policy
Jan 6: Former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman believes that "articulating the narrative about what the United States stands for" will help deter future terrorists, and that our problem is that we aren't doing a good job of that. Given that actions speak louder than words, I believe the U.S. has been far too adept at showing what it stands for. The U.S. has created quagmires in two strategic regions, inaugurated a CIA-led drone war, ignored coups in Egypt and Honduras, sent billions to Israel despite violations of international law, and devised trade policies that permit U.S. corporations to tamper with the economies of developing nations. Those are only the most egregious examples. My brother-in-law was at work in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001; I take threats of terrorism seriously. But if wannabe jihadhists are to turn away from extremism, the best course would be for the U.S. to amend its foreign policy. [Sarah S. Forth - Los Angeles Times]

Congress urged to help end persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma
Jan 8: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact their member of Congress today to urge support for House Resolution 418 to help Rohingya Muslims facing persecution in Burma. Unanimously adopted by the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in December, the resolution calls on the government of Burma (Myanmar) to end the persecution of its Rohingya minority and to respect internationally-recognized human rights for all ethnic and religious groups within Burma. Introduced by Representative James McGovern (D-MA) and co-sponsored by 16 Republicans and Democrats, HR 418 needs at least 10 additional co-sponsors to receive a full House Foreign Affairs Committee markup and requires another 25 co-sponsors to receive a vote on the House floor.
For the past year, the Burmese government has either allowed or directly supported attempted ethnic cleansing by Burmese national extremists of the minority Rohingya Muslim community. This campaign of violence has taken the lives of more than 1,000 Rohingya. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled to neighboring countries, including at least 231,000 to Bangladesh, at least 15,000 to Malaysia, and many more to Thailand and Indonesia. Due to government restrictions on the movements of the Rohingya, individuals residing in Burmese camps have been prevented by local police and military from traveling for outside medical treatment or food. Representing four percent of the population of Burma, the Rohingya are classified as non-citizens by the Burmese government. Since 1994, in the western state of Rakhine, the Rohingya have been prevented from marrying by local administrations that refuse marriage licenses and penalize unauthorized cohabitation and reproduction. It has been reported that the state of Rakhine has imposed a two-child limit on Rohingya Muslim families, a policy that does not apply to Buddhists in the same region. [CAIR]

A network of organizations is fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment
Jan 9: A 2013 report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) identifies a network of 37 organizations that systematically promote anti-Muslim sentiment in America through prejudice, fear and hatred. CAIR calls it “Islamophobia.” According to tax filings analyzed by CAIR, this network had access to nearly $120 million between 2008 and 2011. The report’s title, “Legislating Fear,” comes in part from the proliferation of bills targeting Islamic religious law in recent years. According to the report, 78 bills with negative implications towards Islamic religious practices were introduced in 29 states between 2011 and 2012. As of 2013, seven states have made these bills into law. “I think that there were certain legislators who were more or less duped by these national organizations who were pushing fear and concern about really non-existing problems,” said John Chasnoff, former program director of ACLU-Eastern Missouri. “And then there were other legislators who thought that it was to their political advantage to jump on board.” [St. Louis America]

Texas apartment owner ordered to pay $317,000 in discrimination settlement
Jan 11: The owners and managers for a Euless apartment complex will pay $317,000 to settle a federal lawsuit alleging they discriminated against people of Middle Eastern and South Asian ancestry. The defendants at Stonebridge at Bear Creek will pay $107,000 in civil penalties and $210,000 in a damages fund to compensate victims, under a consent order issued by Chief Judge Sidney Fitzwater of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas. The civil rights complaint was filed in April (2013) alleging that for several years Stonebridge at Bear Creek, S&H Realty Management of Minnesota and apartment manager Nancy Quandt violated the Fair Housing Act. The lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Justice Department. It said Quandt told leasing agents they were prohibited from leasing to Middle Eastern or South Asian people unless there were openings in buildings No. 16 or 18, which were designated for “curry” people. The Justice Department alleged Quandt “routinely made derogatory comments, referring to residents and potential residents of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent, as ‘curry people,’ whom she ‘hated’ and who ‘stink’ and are ‘dirty.’’’ [Dallas News]

Stanford student wrongly labeled a terrorist, judge says
Jan 14: San Francisco District Judge William Alsup ruled today that the federal government violated a former Stanford University doctoral student's legal rights nine years ago when it put her on its secretive "no-fly" lists targeting suspected terrorists. In a decision for the most part sealed, the judge pointed out that Rahinah Ibrahim was mistakenly placed on the controversial list and said that the government must now clear up the mistake.  According to San Jose Mercury News, the decision comes in a case that has for the first time revealed how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security assembles the no-fly lists, used to tighten security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Obama administration has vigorously contested the case, the first of its kind to reach trial, warning that it might reveal top-secret information about the anti-terrorism program. As a result, Alsup sealed his ruling until April to give the government an opportunity to persuade a federal appeals court to keep the order from being released publicly. But Alsup issued a separate three-page ruling outlining the results for Ibrahim, who has waged a high-profile legal battle since she learned she had been placed on the no-fly list as she tried to board a 2005 flight to Hawaii from San Francisco International Airport. Ibrahim, Alsup wrote, is "entitled by due process to a ... remedy that requires the government to cleanse and/or correct its lists and records of the mistaken information." [San Jose Mercury News]

Petition seeking recognition of Muslim holidays in schools fails
Jan 16: A petition started by three middle-school students asking for recognition of Muslim religious holidays in public schools failed to garner enough signatures by its deadline, this afternoon. Last month, three Virginia teenaged girls - Sumayyah McTaggart, Iman Hazer and Fatimah Dandashi - posted the petition on's "We the People" page, asking for the recognition of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The petition called on the president to embrace “inclusiveness” by supporting the call for the recognition of Islamic holidays. The three students wrote the petition for a civics class assignment. The petition received more than 63,000 signatures before it expired today. 100,000-signature were required to receive a response from the White House. However, the petition was  not the first effort of its kind. The Muslim Students Association West, an organization comprised of Muslim student clubs from campuses all over the West Coast, initiated a campaign last October called  “Know your Eid rights as a student.”  The campaign encouraged Muslim students to ask teachers for the day off on Eid. “I feel like there should be no choice for a Muslim student to choose between a religious holiday and going to class," Haidar Anwar, president of MSA West, was quoted by South California Public Radio, as saying. "That’s the key thing, that there should be no choice between that.” [AMP Report]

NSA collects millions of text messages daily in 'untargeted' global sweep
Jan 16: The National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents.  The untargeted collection and storage of SMS messages – including their contacts – is revealed in a joint investigation between the Guardian and the UK’s Channel 4 News based on material provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents also reveal the UK spy agency GCHQ has made use of the NSA database to search the metadata of “untargeted and unwarranted” communications belonging to people in the UK. The NSA program, codenamed Dishfire, collects “pretty much everything it can”, according to GCHQ documents, rather than merely storing the communications of existing surveillance targets. On average, each day the NSA was able to extract: 1. More than 5 million missed-call alerts, for use in contact-chaining analysis (working out someone’s social network from who they contact and when). 2. Details of 1.6 million border crossings a day, from network roaming alerts. 3. More than 110,000 names, from electronic business cards, which also included the ability to extract and save images. 4. Over 800,000 financial transactions, either through text-to-text payments or linking credit cards to phone users. The agency was also able to extract geolocation data from more than 76,000 text messages a day, including from “requests by people for route info” and “setting up meetings”. Other travel information was obtained from itinerary texts sent by travel companies, even including cancellations and delays to travel plans. [The Guardian]

State education board dismisses concerns that some of
Alabama's approved social studies textbooks are pro-Islamic
Jan 17: The Alabama State Board of Education today rejected allegations that some of the state's approved social studies textbooks have a pro-Islamic bias and diminish Christianity. Voting 5-2, the board approved a measure to recommend more than 500 new social studies textbooks for use in public schools, including 11 of 12 books concerned citizens asked the board to remove from the list, according to the Alabama Media Group. One of the 12 books was removed from the list, but not because of a perceived pro-Islamic bias. State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice described that book as an unintentional duplicate. Board members Betty Peters of Kinsey and Stephanie Bell of Montgomery opposed the measure. The board rejected an amendment from Bell that would have removed the 11 books. The decision comes after the board delayed consideration of the new textbook list in December, citing bias concerns.
However, the founder of one of those groups says he'll continue to fighting to keep the textbooks out of Alabama classrooms, encouraging local school boards to reject textbooks. "It's not anti-Islamic as such. It's the indoctrination and propaganda and false information about Islam -- primarily its history on how their cultures interacted with others," said Larry Houck, founder of the Birmingham chapter of ACT! for America. ACT! for America is founded by Islamophobe Brigitte Gabriel who has been criticized as anti-Islamic based on her views that the religion promotes terrorism and hinders self-expression, self-improvement and empowerment. In reviews provided to the state board last month, ACT! for America and the longtime extreme rightist group Eagle Forum of Alabama, claimed authors had gone out of their way to present Islam in a positive the light. They also called Islam a violent and intolerant religion and complained the books dedicated more space to the religion as compared to Christianity. Other allegations included that certain statements in the books were offensive to Christians. [AMP Report]

February 2014      Continued on next page

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