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CAIR-MI Issues Ramadan Appeal for Release of Michigan Muslim Detained in Iran

CAIR MI logo(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 6/23/2015) - The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today cited the tradition of merciful acts during the ongoing fast of Ramadan in renewing its call for the release of a Michigan Muslim who has been detained in Iran for approximately four years.

Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine, was detained in Iran in August of 2011 on allegations of espionage. Family members of Hekmati say he went to Iran solely for the purposes of visiting family and tourism.

In April 2014, Hekmati was convicted of "practical collaboration with the American government" and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

SEE: Iran Secretly Convicted Former Marine, Lawyer Says (New York Times)

CAIR officials have communicated with Iranian officials multiple times regarding the Hekmati case and have previously worked with them to seek the release of other Americans.

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CAIR Partners With Md. Mosques for #SharingRamadan2015 Campaign in Baltimore City

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/23/15) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, announced today that it is partnering with several Maryland mosques for the "#SharingRamadan2015" campaign to share the blessings of the holy month of Ramadan.

CAIR's Maryland Outreach Department is partnering with the Islamic Society of the Washington Area, Islamic Center of Maryland, Dar at Taqwa, and the Muslim Community Center to assemble and distribute 1,000 "goody bags" filled with granola bars, dates, fruit snacks, and other treats.

Community volunteers will assemble the bags on Saturday, June 27 and will distribute them the following week to youth and senior citizens in Baltimore's Sandtown/Winchester neighborhood and to Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office's "Junior State's Attorney" program participants.

"Sharing our blessings with others is an obligation for all Muslims, and itis especiallyimportant duringthe holy month of Ramadan," said CAIR Maryland Outreach ManagerZainab Chaudry. "This year, Maryland's Muslim community wants to help lift the spirits of those adversely affected by the unrest following Freddie Gray's death in Baltimore. As we work to address underlying systemic issues that led to his death, and as we continue to seek justice for him and his family, we hope that sharing a part of Ramadan will help bring joy to residents in the neighborhoods impacted by the recent unrest."

Ramadanis the month on the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures from break of dawn to sunset. The fast is performed to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity, while obeying God's commandments. Fasting (along with the declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the "five pillars" of Islam.

The Muslim community in America and around the world began the month-long fast ofRamadan(rom-a-don)on June 18. The end ofRamadanwill be marked by communal prayers called "Eid ul-Fitr," or Feast of the Fast-Breaking on or aboutJuly 17.

To assist local Muslim community leaders, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has produced a "SharingRamadan Resource Guide 2015" that offers step-by-step advice on hosting an interfaith iftar, or fast-breaking meal, with their fellow Americans of other faiths and backgrounds.

SEE: CAIR SharingRamadanResource Guide 2015

The resource guide includes instructions on forming a "SharingRamadan" committee, a sample media advisory for an iftar, advice on reaching out to local media, an advertisement for the event, text for a "Welcome to OurRamadanFast-Breaking" brochure, frequently-asked questions about Ramadan, and a sample event program and newspaper advertisement.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions

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Contact: CAIR Maryland Outreach Manager Zainab Chaudry,410-971-6062

CAIR Asks Chinese President to End Denial of Religious Freedom for Uyghur Muslims

Ramadan 2015 China bans fasting for Uighur Muslims(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/22/15) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today urged the People's Republic of China to end all state-sanctioned denial of religious freedoms targeting Muslims in that nation's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

In a letter to President Xi Jinping, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote in part:

"The ability of Muslims in Xinjiang to freely practice their faith is allegedly being obstructed by local authorities who routinely attempt to ban fasting during Ramadan under a state campaign to suppress Islamic religious practices and local Muslim traditions.

"These acts of state religious suppression also reportedly include harassing Muslim men who grow beards and women who wear Islamic attire. It is also reported that Muslims under the age of 18 are prohibited from practicing their religion and that authorities impose heavy fines on families whose children study the Quran, Islam's revealed text, or fast during Ramadan.

"The Chinese Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to those who practice Islam. As a signatory to the United Nations Charter, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the People's Republic of China is responsible for ensuring that Muslims in Xinjiang and across greater China are entitled to equal protection under the law against any state discrimination and against any incitement to discrimination. . .

"The American Muslim community and CAIR respectfully urge the People's Republic of China to uphold its own laws and international conventions by removing all barriers to religious freedom for the Muslims in Xinjiang, for Muslims throughout China and for the rights of all other people of faith in your nation.”

CAIR also requested a meeting between the Chinese ambassador in Washington, D.C., and representatives of the American Muslim community and other concerned parties to discuss the issue of religious freedom.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CAIR Joins Call for Removing Confederate Flag from South Carolina Capitol

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/21/15) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today added its voice to calls for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol.

While the controversy over the flag - which for many Americans is a symbol of racial hatred and oppression - has been raging for decades, that debate was reignited by the killing of nine worshipers at a historic Charleston, S.C., church.

Photographs have surfaced showing the man accused of killing the nine worshipers displaying the flag and using the number 88, which is neo-Nazi and white supremacist code for “Heil Hitler.”

SEE: Dylann Roof Photos and a Manifesto Are Posted on Website

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