U.S. Muslims call for 9/11/02 "Day of Unity and Prayer"
A national American Muslim political council today announced a "National Day of Unity and Prayer" designed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC), made up of the nation's four most prominent Muslim political advocacy groups,* called on all faith communities to participate in the national observance by opening houses of worship on September 11, 2002, for interfaith visits, prayers, congregational exchanges, and other activities intended to foster national unity and religious tolerance.
A web site will be established to allow local mosques, churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions to register their participation in the national event.
A joint AMPCC statement read in part: "It is imperative that all Americans come together on the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks to show that we are united as a nation and to reject efforts by any parties, whether overseas or within our borders, to divide the United States along religious or ethnic lines. The Muslim community is part of this country, and we join our fellow citizens in mourning those who were killed or injured on that fateful day."
AMPCC member groups will help coordinate the American Muslim community's participation in the National Day of Unity and Prayer. As part of the AMPCC campaign, a step-by-step guide to holding local mosque open houses will be distributed to Islamic centers nationwide.
Other religious organizations, such as the National Council of Churches, are organizing similar observances.
American Muslim groups jointly and individually condemned the 9/11 attacks. An AMPCC statement issued within hours of the incidents stated: "American Muslims utterly condemn what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts."
Israel uses U.S. weapons to massacre palestinian civilians
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/23/02) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today strongly condemned Israel's use of American taxpayer-supplied weapons to massacre at least 11 Palestinians, including women and children, in an attack on a residential building in the Gaza Strip.
The latest list of dead released by a nearby hospital included two babies ages 18 and 2 months, five children ages 3-5, an 11-year-old and three adults. Israel used an American-made F-16 fighter plane to launch the missile that struck the building.
"The blood of these innocent children is on the hands of those in America's pro-Israel lobby who use their influence to promote congressional and administration policies that provide American tax dollars and tacit support for such attacks," said CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad. He said the attack was a violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act.
"Terrorism is defined as the use of violence against civilians to achieve political goals. This premeditated attack on a civilian building in the dead of night is a prime example of state-sponsored terrorism. If our government fails to condemn this massacre, all the official rhetoric about 'zero-tolerance' for terrorism will ring hollow around the Muslim world. There should be one standard for defining terrorism, not one for Israel and one for the rest of the world," said Ahmad.
He added that the recent administration shift away from an even-handed Middle East policy to one that bows to Israeli dictates was obviously viewed as a green-light for the attack. Ahmad also called on American Jewish groups to condemn the attack in the same way that American Muslim organizations have condemned other acts of terrorism.
A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan also condemned the attack, saying: "Israel has the legal and moral responsibility to take all measures to avoid the loss of innocent life; it clearly failed to do so in using a missile against an apartment building...The secretary-general calls on the government of Israel to halt such actions and to conduct itself in a manner that is fully consistent with international humanitarian law."
Anti-Muslim graffiti found after FBI search in Michigan
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/22/02) - Relatives of a Dearborn, Mich., Muslim arrested last week while allegedly carrying counterfeit checks say they found anti-Islamic graffiti scrawled in the man's house following a search by the FBI and Secret Service. The man, a Jordanian-American, was arrested Wednesday after he arrived in Detroit on a flight from Indonesia.
Relatives told the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, they found the words "Islam is Evil" and " Christ is King" written on a Muslim prayer calendar attached to the man's refrigerator. (Contact CAIR to obtain a copy of the calendar.) CAIR is calling on Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate the incident.
The man's brother said he and his wife were babysitting in the house last Thursday when officers of the two agencies came to search the premises. It was after being handcuffed, questioned and fingerprinted that family members say they discovered the slurs.
In a letter to Ashcroft, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote:
"While law enforcement authorities have the right, and even the duty, to follow all legitimate leads in the search for those who would cause harm to our nation, they do not have the right to insult the religious beliefs of those they are questioning.
"American Muslims want to do their part in protecting our nation and will offer any information that might be useful in that effort. However, indications that those questioned will be subject to religious slurs or bias only serve to impede legitimate investigations.
"This incident is of particular concern to us because it does not reflect the professionalism and concern for due process exhibited by the many FBI officials and other law enforcement authorities CAIR has been in dialogue with on civil liberties issues since the tragic events of September 11, 2001."
Awad recommended the creation of a national civil liberties advisory panel that would consult with law enforcement officials to ensure that citizens' civil rights are maintained during this time of crisis. There are an estimated seven million Muslims in America and some 1.2 billion worldwide.
California Governor to sign Halaal Food Bill
California's Governor Gray Davis will today sign the Halal Food Bill (AB1828) into law at a Los Angeles Islamic center. The bill makes it a misdemeanor to, with the intent to defraud, sell or expose for sale, "meat, meat products, or any food product that is falsely represented as being halal, or as having been prepared according to Islamic religious requirements." (Halal food is that which satisfies Islamic guidelines on content and preparation. For example, Muslims are prohibited from consuming pork products or foods containing alcohol.)
The bill passed unanimously in the California State Legislature. Similar bills have passed in New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota.
CAIR-CA worked with Assemblyman Bill Campbell (R-71) to draft and introduce the bill. Dr. Ahmad Sakr of the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) provided technical and scholarly assistance.
"The passage of the Halal Food Bill reaffirms California's commitment to religious diversity," said Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of CAIR-LA.
WHEN: Monday, July 8, 2002, 11:15 a.m. (Pacific)
WHERE: Islamic Center of Southern California, 434 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90020 (CALL 213-382-9200 for directions.)
CONTACT: Sabiha Khan, 714-776-1847 or 714-390-0334 (Cell)