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Thomas Jefferson fought to ensure the rights of Muslims

Thomas-Jefferson-QuranBy Denise Spellberg, Salon.com

Excerpted from Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an

[He] sais "neither Pagan nor Mahamedan [Muslim] nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his religion." -- Thomas Jefferson, quoting John Locke, 1776

At a time when most Americans were uninformed, misinformed, or simply afraid of Islam, Thomas Jefferson imagined Muslims as future citizens of his new nation.

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NYC Republican Mayoral Candidate Defends NYPD Muslim Spying

joe-lhota-speakingJoe Lhota attacks the Associated Press while defending the controversial program in a BuzzFeed interview.

Andrew Kaczynski, BuzzFeed

New York City Republican mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota defended the NYPD’s broad surveillance of Muslims and attacked the Associated Press’ Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting during a wide-ranging interview with BuzzFeed Tuesday.

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How Muslims Wash, Bury Their Dead

body-washing-dummyBy Tasnim Shamma, WFAE

When a loved one dies, most of us turn to a funeral home or crematorium to take care of the body. In the Islamic tradition, it’s different. Family members often help wash and bury their bodies within 24 hours. But first, you have to learn how to do it.

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TSA Hajj Traveler Awareness: Know Before You Go

airplaneTSA understands that the Hajj is a significant event for Muslims and is one of the five pillars of Islam. Many observant Muslims perform Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca and Madinah in Saudi Arabia. Each year, more than a million pilgrims take part in the Hajj, including over ten thousand Americans. The dates for Hajj this year are Sunday, October 13, through Friday, October 18, 2013. The travel period this year will commence a few weeks before Hajj and end several weeks after its conclusion.

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Catholic campus houses Suffolk's first Muslim school

Muslim-school-Catholic-campusBy Bart Jones, Newsday

In classrooms where Catholic girls once studied the Bible and prayed the Our Father, young Muslims now study the Quran and pray in Arabic.

The girls no longer wear uniforms of skirts and blazers, but traditional Muslim floor-length dresses called jilbabs, with hijabs covering their heads. Boys are neatly attired in light blue dress shirts and navy blue pants.

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My Detainment Story or: How I learned to Stop Feeling Safe in My Own Country

CBP-badgeEarlier this month, On the Media producer Sarah Abdurrahman, her family, and her friends were detained for hours by US Customs and Border Protection on their way home from Canada. Everyone being held was a US citizen, and no one received an explanation. Sarah tells the story of their detainment, and her difficulty getting any answers from one of the least transparent agencies in the country.

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Abercrombie & Fitch loses headscarf bias suit and sales are plummeting

Abercrombie-CEOBy John Kruzel, Slate.com

In 1992, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael Jeffries took a staid, century-old sporting apparel store, injected it with teenage hormones, and grew the rejuvenated company into a multibillion-dollar retail chain. He has also personally discouraged unattractive, unpopular, and overweight customers from shopping at Abercrombie, and during Jeffries' tenure as chief executive, the company has faced numerous discrimination lawsuits.

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Muslim Veterans Honored for Making a Difference

MN-Muslim-vetsZafar Siddiqui, Star Tribune

Two Minnesota Muslims, Sakinah Mujahid and Mohammad Zafar, were among those who were honored at the 25 Veterans' Voices Awards ceremony at the Minnesota Humanities Center on 9/11/2013. The 25 Veterans' Voices Award highlights veterans who have made "exceptional contributions to the community, in business, health care, public safety, education, the arts, government or any other endeavor which merits recognition." It features young veterans who "have not merely returned to civilian life but are thriving and giving back to their Minnesota communities."

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CAIR-San Antonio Co-Sponsors Evening of Interfaith Peace Building

CAIR-San-Antonio-Peace-Building(SAN ANTONIO, TX, 9/18/2013) - The San Antonio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SA), along with Muslin Children and Education Center (MCECC) and 21 other Christian and Muslim organizations, recently sponsored an evening of peace building among Christians and Muslims.
 
The first half of the program was held at the Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and was attended by 400 people from all different denominations of Christian and Muslim faiths.
 
The evening began with the film, “In the Footprints of Francis and the Sultan,” which shares a little-known story of the Fifth Crusade in 1219. St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan Malek Al-Kamil engaged in dialogue which eventually led to peace. Their example is an invitation to join in respectful dialogues with people of different faiths and cultures. Muslim women of the Raindrop Women’s Association provided a delicious dinner of Turkish food.
 
The second half of the evening took place at the Muslim Children and Education Center where another 150 people joined for the discussion on the movie and to discuss the compassion taught by the Christianity and Islam respectively.
 
The evening brought together Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, other Christians, and Buddhists with Muslims of a variety of schools of thought.
 
The mosque is attended by Urdu, English, Arabic, Somali, Persian, Turkish and Punjabi, Pashto, and Sindhi speakers. The evening was part of the San Antonio peace CENTER Pilgrimage of Compassion. Susan Ives of their core team provided a handout of the Charter for Compassion for all and information where the text could be found in thirty languages. 
 
Moderating the discussion, “Islam and Christianity are two of the great religions of the world,” said Sarwat Husain, President CAIR-SA, “This is the beginning of the much needed dialogue between our two communities.” “This has been long overdue in San Antonio,” she added.
 
The MCECC program started with a welcome note from Dr. Amir Ehsan, President of MCECC. Rev. Robert Woody of the Episcopal Church of Reconciliation shared ideas of compassion in Christianity, citing the gospel story of the Good Samaritan. Imam Azeem Uddin, speaking for the Muslim Children Education and Civic Center, reflected on a Hadith, a teaching of the Prophet Muhammed, (peace be upon him), “Do unto all as you would wish to have done unto you; and reject for others what you would reject for yourselves.”  He emphasized that compassion is a main idea in the Quran. Dr. Scott Woodward, Assistant Dean at Oblate School of Theology, spoke of the Sultan and Francis respectfully listening to and learning from each other.
 
All were invited to join in interfaith dialogue with others while enjoying Pakistani and Middle Easter desserts and chai in the mosque pavilion, courtesy of CAIR-SA.
 
Free copies of Quran and other Islamic material were given out to the guests.
 
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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