U.S. politicians "pledge allegiance" to Israel say Muslims
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today condemned planned congressional resolutions in support of Israel's brutal invasion of Palestinian territory that the Islamic advocacy group said amounted to American elected officials "pledging allegiance" to a foreign government.
Despite President Bush's assertion that such a move would negatively-impact American foreign policy interests, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders say they would today go ahead with votes on the pro-Israel resolutions.
Yesterday, White House spokesman Ari Fliescher said the president is concerned that "no foreign policy can survive 535 different secretaries of state."
Associated Press reports that the administration urged that if introduced, the resolutions should at least make reference to the need to "alleviate the occupation of the suffering Palestinian people."
A statement by CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad read in part:
"It is truly disturbing to see American elected officials falling over themselves in an unseemly attempt to 'pledge allegiance' to a foreign government and its domestic lobby. Perhaps these same politicians should be
reminded that they were elected by American, not Israeli voters.
"At a time when the president and secretary of state are trying to encourage peace and stability in the Middle East, our elected representatives are undercutting that effort by engaging in crass political
maneuvering that promotes their own prospects of re-election over America's national and security interests.
"Americans should not offer unconditional support to a brutal invasion that even the Israelis admit involved killings of noncombatants, looting by soldiers, denial of relief supplies to entire population centers, and the
use of Palestinian civilians as human shields in military operations."
Awad added that the one-sided congressional resolutions send a false message to the Muslim and Arab world that the American people do not support justice, human rights or a peaceful resolution to the Middle East
conflict. He cited a recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll in which 71 percent of respondents said the U.S. government should not take either side in the Mideast conflict and asked voters to make their representatives aware of that fact.
The most strongly-worded congressional resolution is being sponsored by House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), who just last week announced at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that: "As long as I'm in Congress, I'll use every tool at my disposal to ensure that
the Republican conference in the House of Representatives continues to preserve and strengthen America's alliance with the state of Israel."
Last night on the MSNBC cable news network, House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) went further than even right-wing Israeli politicians by calling for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from the
These statements, and the rush to introduce the non-binding resolutions, are viewed by many political observers as an effort by both major parties to out-bid each other in appealing to Jewish voters and campaign contributors.
Anti-Muslim incidents up three-fold in past year
A report released today by a prominent Islamic advocacy group indicates that reports of anti-Muslim incidents in the United States increased three-fold over the previous year. (Up from 366 validated reports in 2001 to 1125 this year.) The only national study of its kind also shows that almost 60,000 American Muslims have been negatively impacted by U.S. government policies since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) seventh annual study, titled "Stereotypes and Civil Liberties," outlines 1516 reports of denial of religious accommodation, harassment, discrimination, bias, threat, assault, and even several murders. That figure represents more than 2,200 individuals targeted because of actual or perceived religion and ethnicity. The majority of violent incidents occurred in the period immediately following the September 11 attacks. If post 9-11 backlash incidents are eliminated from the count, the remaining reports (525) still show a 43 percent increase over the 2001 study.
CAIR's report covers the period from March 2001, to March 2002. It is available online at http://www.cair-net.org/civilrights2002/
In addition to the direct acts of discrimination and violence, the report shows that the civil rights of almost 60,000 American Muslims were negatively impacted by government policies instituted following the 9-11
attacks. Those affected include some 1,200 Muslims who were detained nationwide, mostly on immigration charges, but who were treated as if they were terrorists, 5,000 legal visa-holders who were asked to submit to "voluntary" interrogations and an estimated 50,000 individuals who donated to American Muslim relief agencies shut down by the government.
"Muslims, like all Americans, support policies that result in genuine increases in security. Unfortunately, many of the government actions prompted by 9-11, particularly those based on ethnic and religious
profiling or stereotypes, merely create a false sense of security and preclude effective initiatives," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
"Now is the time for the judiciary to step in and reaffirm the constitutionally-protected rights that all Americans hold dear," said Awad. Awad added that Muslims were among the victims of the September 11 attacks, they died rescuing other victims and they died in the anti-Muslim hysteria that followed the attacks.
CAIR issued its first civil rights report, called "A Rush to Judgment," within a month of the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building. There are an estimated seven million Muslims in the United States.
Report on American Muslim civil rights to be released
On Tuesday, April 30, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, will hold a news conference in the nation's capital to release its seventh annual report on
the status of Muslim civil rights in the United States, titled "Stereotypes and Civil Liberties."
The report, the only national study of its kind, details incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, stereotyping, discrimination, and harassment during the past year. It also outlines the Islamophobic backlash
that occurred following the September 11 terrorist attacks and examines the impact anti-terrorism policies prompted by the attacks have had on American Muslim civil liberties.
Policies examined by the report include passenger profiling, post-9/11 detentions, the closure of Muslim relief organizations, the use of secret evidence, so-called "voluntary" interviews of legal visa-holders, and the recent raids on Muslim homes and institutions in Virginia and Georgia.
"There is a growing sense of apprehension in the Islamic community about what are viewed as unconstitutional policies targeting ordinary Muslims. American Muslims have been thrust to the forefront of the civil rights movement in this country," said CAIR Research Director Dr. Mohamed Nimer.
CAIR began documenting anti-Muslim incidents following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. There are an estimated 7 million Muslims in this country and some 1.2 billion worldwide.
Payment, apology for store incident
Two Muslim women detained after being accused of stealing merchandise have received an apology and a payment from a clothing store in a Meriden mall.
May Department Stores Co., the parent of the Lord & Taylor outlet in the Westfield Shoppingtown mall, agreed to apologize and offer a cash settlement. "Settlements of $3,700 were reached with two customers who claimed they were falsely arrested and accused of shoplifting," May Co. officials said in a prepared statement.
The women filed a discrimination complaint after they were detained, but never charged with a crime in the September 2000 incident.
The two shoppers, who were dressed in traditional Islamic garb, were stopped as they left a fitting room, according to Hodan Hassan, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which represents
A store security guard checked their merchandise and sales receipts and determined they had taken nothing.
However, another guard insisted they were guilty of shoplifting and tried to remove the head coverings that the Islamic faith requires of all women believers, said Hassan.
"This happened in front of many people and it was very embarrassing for the two women," Hassan said.
Meriden police officers arrived a short time later and the women were allowed to go. No charges were filed, Hassan added.