CAIR MLK Day Commentary: The African-American Women Behind the Heroes

Author: Jimmy Jones

[Jimmy E. Jones is Secretary of the national board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Professor of World Religions and African Studies at Manhattanville College. He may be contacted at:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

For African-Americans, the annual time period between Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday on January 15th and the end of February is bittersweet. This is because we hear quite a bit about Dr. King’s legacy and the importance of Black History for about six weeks, only to be shunted aside again on March 1st of every year.

Nevertheless, we rightly remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a genuine American hero. So was recently departed astronaut and senator John Glenn, the first American in space.

Yet neither of these men could have soared to the heights that they did without the passionate, persistent, consistent, and competent help of women who just happened to be African-American.

In John Glenn’s case, the full story of these women was finally told in the book “Hidden Figures,” written by Margot Lee Shetterly and released as a Hollywood film with the same title.

Mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson made calculations that were invaluable to the success and safety of America’s first manned space flight by our hero John Glenn.

I am a bit familiar with the racial mores of the part of the country in which these women worked. The Langley Research Center is located in Hampton, Va., near where I spent four years (1964-68) as an undergraduate at the overwhelmingly Black Hampton University.

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May America Be True to Her Dream

Nihad Awad 7 2 15By Nihad Awad

[Nihad Awad is national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. He may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..]

This Fourth of July weekend, friends and families around the country will gather together to celebrate the freedoms we cherish as Americans, those for which countless generations have struggled and sacrificed so much. 

We celebrate our freedom from oppression, freedom to practice our religion, representation in our government, and self-determination. 

Yet as recent events targeting African-Americans have made abundantly clear, we still have a long way to go to achieve full equality under the flag we will fly high this weekend. 

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The Reality of Islamophobia in America

Corey-SaylorBy Corey Saylor

Word count: 745

Thirty-seven groups dedicated to spreading anti-Islam prejudice in America enjoyed access to at least $119,662,719 in total revenue between 2008 and 2011, according to a new report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

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Muslims Mark 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

NihadBy Nihad Awad
Word Count: 618

In one of his most famous statements, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

On the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, it is time to reflect on Dr. King's words and examine where we stand as a nation on the issues of justice and mutual understanding.

Dr. King's struggle for justice must be carried on by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds, because that is what he taught and demonstrated through his life's work.

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A Word of Truth on Jihad and Islam

NihadBy Nihad Awad
Word Count: 810

There is a growing attempt by some commentators to label the recent bombings in Boston as "jihad" and to blame the deadly blasts on a non-existent concept they call "radical Islam."

I call "radical Islam" non-existent because radicalism or extremism is not permissible in Islam. Islam prohibits extremism and an essential part of the faith is moderation. A more accurate term might be "Al-Qaeda ideology."

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Muslims Hope for Positive Relations with New Pope

NihadBy Nihad Awad

Muslims have interacted with the Roman Catholic Church and its leaders -- sometimes negatively and sometimes positively -- for hundreds of years. These interactions have included negative periods of needless and counterproductive conflict, as well as positive cooperation on issues of importance to families of all faiths.

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Muslim man sentenced to life without air travel

By Gadeir Abbas and Adam Soltani

Published in The Oklahoman on February 13, 2013.     

Years ago, Saadiq Long — an American citizen born in Oklahoma — served in our Air Force with distinction. For a time, he even provided technical support to military aircraft destined for combat. Who could have guessed that such a man would be deemed too dangerous to board commercial aircraft?

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Nihad Awad: American Muslims Are Indebted to Dr. King

Nihad Awad: American Muslims Are Indebted to Dr. King

By Nihad Awad

In my position as the leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest American Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, I am eternally grateful for the vision, struggle and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

He did not struggle only to free his own generation, and his work will continue to bless many generations to come in America and around the world.

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Dr. King's Legacy Mandates Respect for Due Process, End to Drone Killings and Warrantless Surveillance

Dawud Walid - ISLAM-OPED: Dr. King's Legacy Mandates Respect for Due Process, End to Drone Killings and Warrantless SurveillanceISLAM-OPED: Dr. King's Legacy Mandates Respect for Due Process, End to Drone Killings and Warrantless Surveillance

By: Dawud Walid

Word count: 626

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day symbolizes many important moral and ethical principles, including the citizenry's responsibility to end the federal government's abuses of civil and human rights, both at home and abroad.

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Media Urged to Drop Term 'Islamist' in New Year

By: Ibrahim Hooper

WORD COUNT: 489

As many people make promises to themselves to improve their lives or their societies in the coming year, here is a suggested New Year's resolution for media outlets in America and worldwide: Drop the term "Islamist."

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Jesus and Muhammad are Brothers

By Ibrahim Hooper
Word Count: 520

During the Christmas season, Christian families seek to maintain a focus on Jesus and his legacy.

Many of our Christian brothers and sisters may be surprised to know that Muslims love and revere Jesus as one of God's greatest messengers to mankind, just as we love and revere the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon them both.

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American Muslims May Decide Who Becomes President

American Muslims May Decide Who Becomes President
By: Nihad Awad

Word Count: 686

[Nihad Awad is national executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties organization. He may be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

In this close election, it is a small voting bloc that will decide the outcome. On November 6, American Muslims are in a position to determine which presidential candidate will win in key swing states such as Ohio, Virginia and Florida.

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