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CAIR Urges Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz to Drop Anti-Muslim Tennessee Campaign Chair

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/9/15) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today urged Republican presidential candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz to remove Kevin Kookogey as his state chairman for Tennessee because of his longstanding support for anti-Muslim and Islamophobic causes.

“If Senator Cruz chooses to keep Mr. Kookogey on his campaign staff, it would serve as an endorsement of anti-Muslim hate,” said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw. “In the past few months, Senator Cruz has attended several conferences featuring notorious Islamophobes like Robert Spencer and Frank Gaffney. Despite calls to distance himself from such anti-Muslim bigots, it seems that Senator Cruz is only drawing closer to hate-mongers.”

McCaw noted that in 2012 - as chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party - Kookogey oversaw the adoption of a resolution condemning Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam for appointing a Muslim lawyer to the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development.

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CAIR-MI Seeks Resignation of School Board VP for Posting Anti-Muslim Hate on Facebook

CAIR MI logo(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 6/10/2015) – The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) today called for the resignation of a Roseville, Mich., school board member who – for the second time - posted an anti-Muslim message on Facebook.

Roseville Community Schools Board of Education Vice President Alfredo Francesconi posted an image yesterday from Jan Morgan, an Arkansas gun range owner who bars Muslim customers from her business, containing obscene text that claims Muslims have sex with animals.

In 2013, Francesconi was forced to remove a similarly Islamophobic Facebook post.

“Mr. Francesconi clearly has bigoted views about Islam and Muslims that should render him unfit to serve a diverse community and an equally diverse student population, which includes Muslim children,” said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid.

Walid noted the unprecedented rise in anti-Islam rhetoric in American society and the subsequent increase in hate incidents targeting Muslims.

CAIR offers a booklet, called "An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.

In 2013, CAIR’s California chapter released a report documenting bias-based bullying of American Muslim students in that state’s schools. The report revealed that almost half of Muslim students say they had been subjected to some form of bias-based bullying.

To read the full report, go to:

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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CONTACT: CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, 248-842-1418, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CAIR-WA: Hate Crime Defendant to Plead Guilty in Attack on Muslim Taxi Driver

cab driver punched called terroristDriver punched repeatedly in face by member of the U.S. Navy, threatened with being shot, called 'terrorist'

(SEATTLE, WA, 6/9/2015) – Later today, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) will attend a plea hearing at the King County Courthouse, at which the defendant Jesse A. Fleming will plead guilty on two criminal charges stemming from his hate-motivated attack in early December, 2014, on an American Muslim taxi driver in Seattle.

The driver, who is an American Muslim, a U.S. citizen and a father of four young children, says he was punched repeatedly in the face while driving, causing him to lose consciousness and hit two parked cars and crash into an apartment building. A local television station says 26-year old Jesse Fleming, a member of the U.S. Navy stationed in Everett, reportedly called the Muslim driver ethnic and religious slurs such as “terrorist” and threatened to shoot the driver.

CAIR-WA reiterated its request to the US military to take appropriate action against Jesse Fleming and any other military personnel involved in the brutal attack, based on its own investigation.  CAIR-WA will also ask prosecutors to seek maximum penalties in the case. 

WHAT: Hate Crime Defendant to Plead Guilty in Hate Attack on Muslim Taxi Driver
WHEN: Tuesday, June 9, 1 p.m. (Pacific)
WHERE: King County Courthouse, Judge Ramsdell, W-813. 516 Third Avenue, Seattle, WA
CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-931-3655, E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“We are asking prosecutors to seek maximum penalties in this case so that the perpetrators are met with the full force of the law. Community members need to know that the law is on their side if they stand up and report hate incidents,” said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari. “We are still waiting for the Department of the Navy to publicly clarify whether it has given a dishonorable discharge to Jesse Fleming after he allegedly committed this vicious hate-based attack on a fellow American. We expect a clear, public response from the Navy soon.” 

[NOTE: In 2013, CAIR-WA welcomed a federal hate crime indictment brought against a man accused of beating a Sikh taxi driver while shouting anti-Muslim slurs. In February of this year, CAIR-WA asked the FBI to investigate apparently bias-motivated incidents targeting a mosque in that state.]

CAIR says these and other incidents may be part of a spike in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide.
  
CAIR is asking American Muslims to contact a local CAIR chapter to report any bias incidents.

A CAIR booklet, "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety," was published in response to previous attacks on American mosques.

The booklet is designed to be used by mosque officials, Muslim school administrators and other community leaders and activists who seek to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities to bias-motivated attacks.

A free copy of CAIR's "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety," may be requested by going to: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html

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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CONTACT: CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-931-3655, E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CAIR-NJ Asks FBI to Probe Nazi Vandalism of Mosque Sign

Vandals target sign of new mosque in Midland Park(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 6/2/2015) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate the carving of a Nazi swastika into an Midland Park mosque’s entrance sign.

Officials with the Elzahra Islamic Center say they discovered the hate vandalism last week. The vandal reportedly cut a 10-inch swastika into the wooden sign.

“These types of incidents should be investigated within the context of the rising level of Islamophobic sentiment in our society and treated with the seriousness they deserve,” CAIR-NJ Board Chair Nadia Kahf. “Public officials and interfaith leaders should speak out against acts of hatred and intolerance whenever they occur.

He noted that CAIR last week called for a similar investigation of threats mailed to a number of Phoenix, Ariz., mosques, one of which was surrounded last Friday by armed anti-Islam protesters. Nazi symbols were displayed at that rally.

CAIR also recently called on the Obama administration to treat a planned religiously-motivated attack on a Muslim community in New York as an act of terrorism and to charge the admitted organizer of the attack as a terrorist.

In another recent case, CAIR called on law enforcement authorities in Baltimore County, Md., to step up protection of a mosque and Islamic school in that county following threats to bomb the school’s bus and to spill “Muslim blood.” CAIR also called on the FBI to investigate the phoned threats as hate crimes.

Other anti-Muslim incidents include threats to mosques in Iowa and Ohio, “No Muslims” graffiti spray-painted on the seal of Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, hate vandalism of a Rhode Island Islamic school and threats to murder Massachusetts Muslims.

CAIR is asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A copy of CAIR "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety," which was published in response to previous attacks on American Muslim institutions, may be requested through its website: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html  

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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CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Board Chair Nadia Kahf, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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