(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/23/05) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today applauded the sentencing of a Texas man to more than 14 years in prison for attempting to firebomb the Islamic Center of El Paso. Antonio Flores, 58, was sentenced Wednesday for tossing a firebomb into the center's backyard where children were playing and placing another bomb on a gas meter. Flores told investigators he disliked Muslims and wanted to scare them into leaving El Paso. SEE: “Islam Center Bomber Gets 14-Plus Years” http://www.borderlandnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050623/NEWS/506230345/1001 When the attack occurred last September, CAIR's Houston office held a news conference to urge that religious and political leaders in Texas speak out against Islamophobia.
“We applaud the Justice Department's excellent work in this case and hope that the lengthy sentence sends a message to anti-Muslim bigots,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "This kind of conduct is unconscionable, and the Justice Department will vigorously prosecute any individual who attempts to intimidate his fellow citizen through such abhorrent behavior," said Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Bradley J. Schlozman in a DOJ news release. "We are gratified that the court recognized the gravity of this offense and imposed such a significant and appropriate sentence."
(ORLANDO, FL 6/22/05) - The Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) has announced the filing of a workplace discrimination lawsuit by a Muslim woman who says she was denied the right to wear a religiously-mandated head scarf. CAIR-FL said the lawsuit, filed in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, alleges that Housing Trust Management Group, Inc., a Miami-based real estate development and management company, refused to provide reasonable religious accommodations for the woman's Islamic attire. The lawsuit claims that the Muslim worker was terminated from her position and told that she could not work "dressed like that." CAIR-FL assisted the Muslim woman in filing a complaint with the Florida Human Rights Commission.
Earlier this year, the commission issued a finding of cause acknowledging that discrimination had occurred. The Muslim woman is represented by prominent Orlando attorney David Rickey of Morgan & Morgan. TO VIEW THE COMPLAINT, SEE: http://www.cairfl.org/cases/Hammond_vs_HTMG.pdf "Companies doing business in our state must understand that individual's religious rights are protected by federal and state laws," said CAIR-FL Central FL Director Ahmed Bedier. CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/22/05) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said today it plans to distribute a brochure supporting the religious rights of Muslim women to mosques throughout the United States. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the 28-page publication, called “Women Friendly Mosques and Community Centers: Working Together to Reclaim Our Heritage,” is designed to educate Muslim community leaders about the right of Muslim women to equal access to and participation in community activities. It was published through a collaborative effort of the Islamic Social Services Associations (ISSA) and Women in Islam (WII).
To download a PDF copy of the brochure's text, go to:
Using references in the Quran, Islam's revealed text, and the traditions (hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad, the publication's authors call for improvements in women's access to mosque facilities, greater participation of women in mosque program planning and development of a mosque governance structure that allows women and youth to have input in decision-making. The Prophet Muhammad is also quoted as saying in his final sermon: “The rights of women are sacred, so see that they are maintained.”
Specific recommendations in the “Women Friendly Mosques” guide include:
* Make available designated space for women in the main prayer hall of mosques.
* Invite women to organize community programs, introduce speakers, offer dua (supplications) during educational programs, moderate panels, and direct question and answer sessions.
* Ensure that women are represented on governing boards of mosques and community centers.
“We hope Muslim religious and community leaders will study and adopt the recommendations in this guide as part of a nationwide effort to help restore the rights that Islam has granted to women for more than 1400 years,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.
To read CAIR's Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/21/05) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on judges meeting this week in North Carolina to allow use of the Quran, Islam's revealed text, when administering oaths. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the current exclusive use of the Bible may be an inappropriate state endorsement of religion. CAIR issued its call after Guilford County judges said they would not allow use of Qurans in their courtrooms. "An oath on the Quran is not a lawful oath under our law," said W. Douglas Albright, Guilford's Senior Resident Superior Court judge. State law only refers to swearing an oath by putting a hand on the "Holy Scriptures." Those who do not wish to take an oath using the Bible may instead make an “affirmation.” A preliminary opinion last week by North Carolina's Administrative Office of the Courts said that state law allows people to be sworn in using a Quran rather than a Bible. SEE: “N.C. Judges Face Quran Question” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/06/21/national/main703148.shtml SEE ALSO: “Judges Question Use of Quran in Taking Oaths” http://www.news-record.com/news/local/quran_061905_online.htm
“By stating that only one book qualifies as 'Holy Scriptures,' the court may be making an inappropriate endorsement of a single set of religious beliefs,” said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar. “Eliminating the opportunity to swear an oath on one's own holy text may also have the effect of diminishing the credibility of that person's testimony.” Iftikhar said CAIR will offer a free copy of the Quran to any judge in North Carolina or throughout the United States for use in oaths or for personal awareness of the holy text. Judges or other court officials may order a free Quran by visiting: www.explorethequran.org CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. To read CAIR's Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About