(ATLANTA, GA, 8/18/16) - Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson, president of the Georgia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), attorney Azadeh Shahshahani of Project South and almost 20 Georgia Muslim non-profit organizations have joined CAIR-Georgia's call for a federal investigation into Newton County for anti-Muslim discrimination.
Neither CAIR Georgia, the Georgia NAACP or the other supportive civil rights organizations currently represent the targeted mosque, which hopes to separately and privately resolve the situation with the county commissioners without legal action.
But all the organizations believe that the Justice Department should simultaneously investigate the county's actions.
"Although the targeted mosque hopes the Newton county commission will agree to privately resolve this, CAIR Georgia and other civil rights organizations stand ready to intervene and assist if the county commission does not quickly reverse course," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of the Georgia chapter of the NAACP. "In the meantime, the Justice Department should investigate the county's blatantly unconstitutional actions."
Public comments leading up to the moratorium by opponents of the proposal included anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments.
"Newton's county commissioners abandoned their oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, as well as their own local laws, because of fear and bigotry," said CAIR-GA Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell. "We urge federal authorities to investigate this clearly discriminatory decision and protect the religious rights of all Georgians."
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/21/16) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on officials in Mifflin County, Pa., to repudiate anti-Muslim bigotry expressed by a colleague who posted a series of Islamophobic messages on Facebook.
Mifflin County Commissioner Lisa Nancollas posted an image of a mosque with a red “no” symbol covering it and stating “No Islam Allowed.” She also wrote: “I believe in the Christian God. I don’t believe in Islam, sharia law nor do I believe in Allah” and said people “are only allowed in the kingdom of God if they accept God as their savior not Allah.” Nancollas’ Facebook account name includes the phrase “Mifflin County Commissioner.”
“Anyone is free to hold whatever religious beliefs they wish, but public officials who serve a diverse population and are thereby obligated to protect the religious rights of all community members should be held to a higher standard of conduct,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We urge county commissioners and other public officials to repudiate Ms. Nancollas’ intolerant and divisive views.”
Hooper noted a spike in anti-Muslim incidents in recent months, which the civil rights groups attributes at least in part to Islamophobic rhetoric used by public figures like Nancollas, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and others.
(ATLANTA, GA, 8/19/2016) - The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-GA) today called on Dekalb County law enforcement to investigate a possible bias motive for vandalism targeting an Islamic charity in Stone Mountain.
CAIR-GA also called on law enforcement authorities to increase police patrols near the charity as well as near Islamic houses of worship in the area.
Sometime during the evening of August 17, an unknown number of vandals shattered the glass entry door to the Stone Mountain office of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an American Muslim charity that serves thousands of Georgians of all faiths every year.
The vandals entered the office, broke into the food pantry for the poor and scattered halal meat and other food across the floor without stealing any items. [NOTE: Halal meat, like kosher meat for observant Jews, is specially-prepared meat that is permissible for Muslims to eat.] The vandals also left computers, printers and other items of value untouched.
"We call on law enforcement to investigate this cowardly attack on an Islamic charity as a possible act of bigotry," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-GA. "Law enforcement should also consider increasing patrols near the charity as well as Muslim houses of worship in the area."
Mitchell added: "The cowards who attacked a charity in the middle of the night should know that they cannot deter Georgia Muslims from living our lives. God willing, we will keep praying five times a day, visiting our houses of worship, and donating to Georgians in need. We fear God, not vandals."
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/19/16) – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) is calling on the FBI to investigate an alleged threat by two men to burn down the house of a Somali-American woman in that state if she and her family do not leave town.
The Muslim woman, who moved to Little Falls, Minn., earlier this year, was reportedly confronted at her home by two men who called her a terrorist and said Muslims are not allowed to live in that city.
“We urge the FBI and state law enforcement authorities to investigate this disturbing threat and to ensure the safety of the family targeted by anti-Muslim hate,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein.
Later today, CAIR-MN will host a news conference in Minneapolis with Muslim and Somali-American leaders to condemn GOP Presidential Nominee Donald Trump’s recent Islamophobic and anti-Somali rhetoric.
Yesterday CAIR called on state and federal authorities to investigate alleged threats to the Muslim community in Maine.