(SANTA CLARA, CA, 10/26/07) - The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) today announced that the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District will issue a public apology in response to an incident earlier this summer in which a high school official demanded that a Muslim student remove her hijab, or Islamic head scarf.
The school district will also amend its "no hat" policy and announce a community awareness forum.
On June 19, 2007, a supervisor in the lunchroom of Seaside High School demanded that a 13-year-old Muslim student remove her headscarf, despite being told that it was worn for religious reasons.
The student, who was visiting the school to take part in a summer algebra program, says she broke down in tears after the supervisor allegedly shouted, "You have to take it off now," in front of more than 100 other students in the lunchroom. Despite the shouted and repeated demands of the school official, the girl refused to remove her scarf.
On October 29, 2007, during the district's school board meeting, a public apology will be issued to the student and her family. The apology will address the embarrassment and harm caused while acknowledging her right to wear a hijab at school.
At the meeting, officials will consider a proposal to amend the existing policy, which allows schools discretion to adopt blanket "no-headwear" policies, to include an exception for students wearing head covering for religious reasons.
Angela Chan, a staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus (ALC) who has been representing the family in this matter, said, "It is our hope that the School Board will make the correct decision and adopt the policy recognizing a students' right to wear religious headwear. We also want to be sure that the new policy is worded in a manner that prevents such alarming incidents from reoccurring."
Further, district officials will announce a community forum hosted by the CAIR-SFBA, the ALC, and the student’s family scheduled for Thursday, November 15, 2007, from 6-8 p.m. at the Seaside High School's library.
The forum will include a presentation from CAIR-SFBA addressing the impact of prejudice and harassment, particularly highlighting hate crimes and other incidents that have been perpetrated against American Muslims. The ALC will provide a “know your rights” presentation outlining the state and federal laws protecting students from harassment and discrimination.
"We are grateful to the school district for its cooperation in addressing this matter and its attention to ensuring safety and equality for all students," said Safaa Ibrahim, executive director of CAIR-SFBA. "The public forum can turn this into an effective learning opportunity and help avoid future incidents of harassment. We encourage and welcome the entire community to attend."
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/26/2007) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today expressed concern about the decision of a student group that is involved in the so-called "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" to host a Michigan lecture by a representative of a British racist political party.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the group, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), is hosting a lecture tonight at Michigan State University by British National Party (BNP) Chairman Nick Griffin.
SEE: Controversial British Politician to Speak at MSU
Griffin has been prosecuted in Britain for inciting racial hatred and has been quoted denying the Holocaust. He said: "It's well known that the chimneys from the gas chambers at Auschwitz are fake, built after the war ended."
According to the BNP Constitution: "The British National Party. . .is wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples. It is therefore committed to stemming and reversing the tide of non-white immigration and to restoring, by legal changes, negotiation and consent, the overwhelmingly white makeup of the British population that existed in Britain prior to 1948."
SEE: Constitution of the British National Party
A BNP news release quotes Kyle Bristow, chairman of Michigan State University chapter of YAF, as saying: "It is an honor to host Nick Griffin at my university. Griffin is going to explain how multiculturalism, mass immigration, and Islam are destroying Western civilization." YAF says Griffin will speak about how "Islam is Taking Over Europe."
SEE: BNP Chairman's Speaking Tour of US Universities Going Well
SEE ALSO: MSU YAF to Bring BNP's Nick Griffin to Speak
YAF sponsored a recent "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" lecture by Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator. The Daily Collegian reported, "The Penn State chapter of Young Americans for Freedom was contacted by ("Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" coordinator David) Horowitz and agreed to organize events on campus."
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists Young Americans for Freedom - Michigan State University as a "hate group."
SEE: Active U.S. Hate Groups in 2006
"There appear to be growing links between anti-Muslim bigots in the United States and European racists and anti-Semites," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "Those who promote and exploit such links are doing a disservice to our nation and to its traditions of interfaith tolerance and understanding."
Hooper said other speakers on the "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" lecture tour have been accused of racism and anti-Semitism, or have been linked to European racists.
One of those speakers, Robert Spencer, recently offered a keynote address at a European gathering that included representatives of racist or "neo-Nazi" political parties.
SEE: 'Islamo-Fascism' Week Speaker Meets with European 'Neo-Nazis'
Another speaker, Ann Coulter, has referred to Muslims as "rag heads" and recommended that the United States invade Muslim countries, kill their leaders and convert everyone to Christianity. She recently caused outrage in the Jewish community for anti-Semitic comments.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 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.
(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 10/26/07) – A representative of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) yesterday participated in a program entitled “Misrepresentations of Muslims and Minorities” at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The program, which was sponsored by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) focused upon showing parallels between historical misrepresentations of African-Americans and European Jews by media outlets, politicians, and religious/community leaders with current misrepresentations cast upon American Muslims.
CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid was the keynote speaker of the event, which was attended by some 150 persons.
“We welcome such opportunities to promote diversity and civil discourse during a time when bigots are promoting Islamophobia on university campuses,” said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid.
(TULSA, OK, 10/25/07) - On Friday, October 26, the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) will co-sponsor a news conference with the Islamic Society of Tulsa and interfaith leaders in reaction to Islamophobic remarks by lawmakers in that state who rejected Qurans sent as gifts from an ethnic advisory council.
In rejecting the Qurans, Islam's revealed text, some lawmakers made stereotypical and offensive remarks that falsely linked the faith of Islam to violence.
SEE: At Least 2 Dozen Okla. Lawmakers to Return Copies of Quran
SEE ALSO: More Lawmakers Reject Copy of Quran
WHAT: Interfaith Response to Lawmakers' Islamophobic Comments
WHEN: Friday, October 26, 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: Islamic Society of Tulsa, 4630 S. Irvington Ave., Tulsa, OK
News conference participants will include representatives (or statements) from CAIR-OK, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries, Tulsa Interfaith Alliance, Oklahoma Conference for Community and Justice, Say No To Hate, and the Jewish Federation.
[NOTE: CAIR has an ongoing initiative to offer free Qurans to Americans of all faiths.]
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 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.