(NEW YORK, N.Y., 8/11/17) – On Sunday, the New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, will mark the one year anniversary of the Ozone Park double murder that claimed the lives of Imam Maulana Ala’Uddin Akonjee and Thara Uddin.
In anticipation of the pending anniversary, CAIR-NY wrote to Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Hindu faith leaders, requesting that they share the story of the Ozone Park murder victims with their congregations over this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. CAIR-NY encourages New Yorkers of all faiths to remember this profound injustice and the stain it leaves on our city.
On August 13, 2016, the two Muslim men were killed in broad daylight as they returned home from their local mosque. The brutal crime, which corresponded with a nationwide surge in anti-Muslim hate crimes, triggered massive demonstrations in the men’s Ozone Park neighborhood and gained worldwide media attention.
Oscar Morel was arrested for the killings, and he is expected to stand trial for first degree murder in the fall. CAIR-NY represents Imam Akonjee and Mr. Uddin‘s widows and children, supporting them throughout the criminal prosecution.
“With the continued rise in hate crimes across New York, it is important to pursue justice for those who have been harmed by violence,” said Afaf Nasher, executive director for CAIR-NY. “We encourage other district attorneys to follow the example of the Queens D.A. by working with the victims of hate crimes and their families to ensure justice is served.”
“We commend the Queens District Attorney’s Office for their unfailing commitment to secure justice for the Akonjee and Uddin families,” said Albert Cahn, legal director for CAIR-NY. “This heinous crime not only robbed children of their fathers, and wives of their husbands, it robbed this community of its leaders. Every time Muslim New Yorkers are targeted for their faith, it is a horrendous crime, but these murders are a singular example of the climate of hate that has been created in this city and across this country.”
In CAIR’s 2017 Civil Rights Report released earlier this summer, the civil rights group noted a nationwide spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes, which rose more than 580 percent from 2014-2016. In New York State, anti-Muslim hate incidents increased by 560 percent in 2016.
CAIR-NY is calling upon Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to the organization. Contact CAIR-NY by calling (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/
CAIR’s national headquarters recently launched an app to share critical “know your rights” information and to simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents. CAIR is urging American Muslims and members of other minority groups to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.
For a quick download of CAIR’s civil rights app, click here: http://www.cair.com/app
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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Police agree to $85,000 in damages and have amended department policy to allow religious head coverings in custody.
(ANAHEIM, CA, 8/10/2017) -- The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today announced the settlement of a federal lawsuit filed by CAIR-LA on behalf of a Muslim woman who had her religious head scarf (hijab) forcibly removed by a male officer of the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD).
Kirsty Powell, an African-American Muslim, filed a civil rights complaint after police officers forcibly removed her hijab in view of other male officers and dozens of inmates. Powell wears the hijab as part of her religious beliefs. She was forced to spend the entire night exposed in custody and described the experience as deeply traumatizing.
The Long Beach City Council voted on Tuesday to approve the settlement, which included $85,000 in damages.
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/10/17) - Representatives of the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local American Muslim organizations, met yesterday with State Department officials to discuss the ongoing Al-Aqsa Mosque crisis and Israel's denial of religious freedom in Jerusalem, which is holy to the three Abrahamic faiths. During the meeting at the State Department, the USCMO delegation highlighted the religious significance of Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque sanctuary – one of Islam’s holiest sites -- for the world’s 1.6 billion Muslim, including the 6 million American Muslims.
Officials assured the delegation that the United States is committed to working with the various parties in the conflict to assure the safety and security of worshipers in Jerusalem.
“We wanted to convey to the State Department how deeply concerned we are about the incidents in Jerusalem and to make sure they understood the religious significance this site holds for American Muslims,” said Oussama Jammal, USCMO secretary general. “We were encouraged by the constructive dialogue at the State Department on this important issue.”
(WASHINGTON, DC, 8/10/17) – Last night, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) offered a "Know Your Rights as a Hajj Traveler" community training webinar for those taking part in the upcoming annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The webinar focused on travel issues related to the Trump administration’s “Muslim ban” executive orders. Hajj travelers, group leaders and others are encouraged to watch/listen to the webinar posted on CAIR’s YouTube site.
The training also provided information about the rights of American citizens and green card holders, airport security agencies, “secondary” screening, body scanners, your rights at customs and U.S. entry points, the terrorist screening database, no-fly and selectee lists, the complaints process, and more. Common scenarios were discussed.
Trainers included CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, CAIR-Oklahoma Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure, and CAIR-Florida Executive Director Hassan Shibly. The webinar was facilitated by CAIR National Chapter Director Lori Saroya.