(NEW YORK, NY, 9/29/16) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today welcomed hate crime charges against Emirjeta Xhelili for attacking two Brooklyn Muslim women pushing babies in strollers.
Xhelili was arraigned yesterday on a dozen charges stemming from the September 8 incident, in which she allegedly punched and kicked the Muslim women and tried to pull off their Islamic head scarves, or hijabs. The charges against Xhelili include assault in the first degree as a hate crime, which carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.
According to police, Xhelili allegedly shouted Islamophobic insults as she assaulted the victims. Xhelili reportedly shouted, “Get the f--- out of America, b-----s,” as she punched one of the Muslim women in the face and kicked them both in their legs.
“We welcome this indictment, and we expect the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office to continue to prosecute this horrific attack vigorously,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “In the current climate, it’s essential that potential attackers know that they will be swiftly caught and prosecuted if they attempt to target any minority community.”
Nasher noted a spike in anti-Muslim incidents in recent months, which the civil rights group attributes at least in part to Islamophobic rhetoric used by public figures.
In one of largest-ever RLUIPA settlements, Michigan Islamic Academy wins right to build on its property
(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI, 9/29/16) - The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) today announced that it reached a settlement in a lawsuit the Muslim civil rights organization brought on behalf of the Michigan Islamic Academy (MIA) against Pittsfield Township for unlawfully denying the Islamic school its right to build on its property.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan in August 2012, claimed violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), and the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution. [NOTE: RLUIPA protects individuals, houses of worship and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning and landmarking laws.]
The federal government intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of MIA in October 2015.
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/27/16) - The Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Missouri) tonight called on Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens and other GOP leaders in that state to repudiate internet messages disparaging Muslims, alleging that President Obama is foreign-born and joking about rape re-posted by Robert Murphy, the narrator of a new ad campaign for the candidate.
Messages re-posted on Murphy's Facebook page include, “No to gun control, Yes to Muslim control,” and references to Muslims as "some 7th Century Islamic goat humpers."
(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 9/27/2016) - The Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today expressed disappointment in the City Council of Oklahoma City’s decision not to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day as the second Monday in October.
Despite a room full of activists and supporters urging the City Council to pass a resolution naming the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the measure failed by a 6-3 vote, with Councilmen Ed Shadid (Ward 2), John Pettis (Ward 7), and Pete White (Ward 4) standing as the only votes in favor.
CAIR-OK Operations and Events Coordinator Anna Facci said:
“It is disheartening and frustrating to see the Oklahoma City mayor and city council willfully ignore the requests of its constituents. Though more than a dozen people, including indigenous and non-indigenous folks in solidarity from across the state, spoke in favor of the measure, the mayor and the city council refused to participate in healing the historical trauma of colonization. I have never seen a body of government so quickly dismiss the concerns of its constituents. We will be standing in solidarity with the Native community until the day that Indigenous Peoples’ Day is recognized in OKC and across the state.”
This is the second year that local activists have tried to have Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognized. The measure failed last year in a 5-4 vote
NO “DAY” FOR YOU! OKC City Council sends clear message to indigenous community