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Florida Muslims Seek Probe of Teacher's Anti-Islam Remarks

The Florida office of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) today called on that state's Levy
County School District to investigate allegations that a high school
teacher made Islamophobic comments to a Muslim student in her class and
ridiculed the girl's name as being similar to that of former Iraqi dictator
Saddam Hussein.

The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said that if
true, the allegations should result in disciplinary action against the teacher.

According to the 15-year-old girl's family and written statements from four
non-Muslim students in a world history class at Chiefland High School in
Chiefland, Fla., the teacher said all Muslims are suicidal terrorists who
must kill at least one American. She also allegedly called the student
"[First name] Saddam Hussein" and suggested that other students stay away
from Muslims. The school is conducting an investigation of the incident
following a meeting Wednesday with the girl's family.

"Students of all faiths must feel secure in their classrooms and should
never be subjected to religious, ethnic or racial harassment," said CAIR-FL
Executive Director Altaf Ali. "School district officials must demonstrate
in concrete terms that these allegations will be investigated and that
appropriate action will be taken based on the results of that investigation."

Ali added that CAIR publishes a booklet, called "An Educator's Guide to
Islamic Religious Practices," designed to prevent just such incidents. The
booklet is available by e-mailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Include name, address
and phone number when requesting the booklet.)

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.

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CONTACT:
Altaf Ali, 954-298-8214, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Ahmed Bedier, 813-731-9506, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;
Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;
Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

IL: Coalition Offers Muslims Legal Advice

A coalition of Chicago-area legal organizations today opened a
telephone hotline for Arabs and Muslims designated for surveillance and
questioning by federal law enforcement authorities in a new round of
interviews underway across the country. FBI Director Robert Mueller and
Attorney General John Ashcroft recently announced their intent to direct a
series of dragnet-like interviews involving individuals from the Muslim and
Arab community across the United States.

Individuals designated for an interview by the FBI who wish to contact a
volunteer lawyer can call the ACLU of Illinois hotline at 800-572-1092 or
the Muslim Civil Rights Center hotline at 866-440-6272.

The plan for questioning Muslims and Arabs is reminiscent of programs
conducted by the Justice Department in late 2001 and 2002, in which the
Department attempted to locate and interview eight thousand (8,000) Arabs
and Muslims without any indication that these individuals had any
information that might be helpful in the fight against terrorism. The
series of interviews never resulted in a single arrest. Rather, the
process created distrust and fear throughout immigrant communities.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the Chicago Chapter of the
National Lawyers Guild, the Muslim Bar Association and the Muslim Civil
Rights Center announced that they would again join together to provide
basic legal information and representation -- at no cost -- to any Muslim
or Arab who requested such assistance in the Chicago area.

"People targeted for investigation are undoubtedly in need of legal
counsel," said Harvey Grossman, legal director for the ACLU of Illinois in
announcing the formation of the coalition. "It is in the highest tradition
of the American bar that these organizations and attorneys step forward and
offer their services without compensation to these individuals. In so
doing, these attorneys also fulfill our fundamental constitutional values."

"MCRC's collaboration with the ACLU and other groups will greatly benefit
the area Muslims and Arabs who are concerned about being approached by law
enforcement agents and need legal representation during questioning," said
MCRC President Rasheed Ahmed.

The coalition will provide lawyers with a broad range of experience across
the Chicago area who will offer legal services pro bono to persons
contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or other law enforcement
agencies acting on behalf of the federal government, in connection with the
nationwide investigation

CONTACT: Edwin C. Yohnka of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, 312-201-9740, ext. 305 or 847-687-1129 (cell), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

U.S. Muslims Urge End to Fighting Near Iraqi Shrine

A prominent national Islamic civil rights and
advocacy group today said a U.S. attack on the Imam Ali Shrine in the Iraqi
city of Najaf would harm America's image in the Muslim world and called for
negotiations to end the fighting.

Marine commanders say they are preparing a final assault on an Iraqi
militia group holding out in Najaf, where the Imam Ali Shrine, its
associated educational institutions and an ancient cemetery are located.
Any American assault would likely involve attacks on and possible damage to
the shrine, a site revered by millions of Shia Muslims in Iraq and around
the world.

SEE: "U.S. Forces, Close to Attack in Najaf, Suddenly Pull Back"
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/11/international/middleeast/11CND-IRAQ.html

In its statement, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:

"An attack by U.S. forces on the Imam Ali shrine, and the inevitable damage
and civilian casualties resulting from such an attack, would only serve to
further harm America's image in Iraq and throughout the Muslim world. We
call on all parties to the ongoing conflict in Najaf and elsewhere in Iraq
to respect religious sensitivities, remove weapons from religious
institutions, avoid any actions that might threaten damage to holy places,
and seek negotiated settlements to outstanding political disputes."

The statement noted that Iraq's Deputy President Ibrahim Jaafari is urging
U.S. troops to leave Najaf. "I call for multinational forces to leave Najaf
and for only Iraqi forces to remain there," said Jaafari.

An article in today's Washington Post indicated that the fighting in Najaf
has already resulted in widespread damage to that city's cemetery.

SEE: "Cemetery Fight Haunts Some U.S. Troops"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53557-2004Aug10.html

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.

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CONTACT:
Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;
Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Arizona Muslims Meet with Law Enforcement Officials

The Arizona office of the Washington-based Council on
American Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ), the ASU Muslim Student Association,
and leaders from seven valley Musjids met Tuesday with the FBI's Phoenix
Division to discuss ways to promote better relations between law
enforcement and the state's Muslim and Arab-American Communities.

Officials from the Phoenix Police Department, Tempe Police Department, Mesa
Police Department, Chandler Police Department, Tucson Police Department,
University of Arizona and Arizona State University Police, U.S. Attorney's
Office, Arizona Attorney General's Office, and Maricopa County Prosecutor's
Office also took part in the meeting.

Special Agent in Charge Charlene Thornton informed CAIR-AZ that her office
will not tolerate any hate crimes against the Muslim community and stressed
that Americans of all faiths have the right to enjoy freedom and must work
together to protect America.

Participants agreed in principal to attend town hall events with the Muslim
community and law enforcement agencies throughout Arizona. CAIR-AZ and
other Islamic organizations represented at Tuesday's meeting pledged to do
their utmost in helping to make Arizona and America more secureā€¦

CONTACT: Deedra Abboud, 602-262-2247 OR This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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