FBI Entrapment Harms Vulnerable Muslims

By Rachel Roberts As details emerge about Matthew Aaron Llenaza, the San Jose man arrested for plotting terrorism at the behest of an undercover FBI agent, we have learned that Mr. Llenaza had a history of bipolar disorder and psychosis. This newly publicized information about Mr. Llenaza casts doubt on the portrait the FBI has drawn of its suspect, whom they characterize as a shrewd and calculating Taliban sympathizer intent on doing harm to the United States. It also raises concerns about the FBI using public resources to thwart plots that it is, in fact, concocting on its own.  But these new details about Mr. Llenaza highlight something not often talked about in the mainstream discourse about counterterrorism efforts: its effects on the mentally ill. Read more
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CAIR ISLAM-OPED: Jesus and Muhammad are Brothers

CAIR ISLAM-OPED: Jesus and Muhammad are Brothers ISLAM-OPED is a syndication service of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) designed to offer an American Muslim perspective on current political, social and religious issues. ISLAM-OPED commentaries are offered free-of-charge to one media outlet in each market area. Permission for publication will be granted on a first-come-first-served basis. Please consider the following commentary for publication. CONTACT: Ibrahim Hooper, ihooper@cair.com, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726 (c) Jesus and Muhammad are Brothers By Ibrahim Hooper Word Count: 520 Read more
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Travelling Beyond Law Enforcement Roadblocks

As Americans, we have a lot to be thankful for. In the hustle of everyday life, we might take for granted the little things that we have grown accustomed to, such as the ability to speak freely and defend our own rights, or the ability to travel freely whether on business, for leisure, or visiting loved ones. Yet even when we're accustomed to these everyday liberties, it's always good to pause and put things in perspective. What happens when those liberties start to be taken away? Imagine you're on a road trip with your family, and as you cross from Canada or Mexico at a U.S. border checkpoint, you're signaled to pull your car to the side of the road. Imagine you're asked to step out of your car and are put into a holding room -- and held for up to 10 hours. Read more
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American Muslims Go To Washington, But More Can Be Done In Our Back Yards

Several weeks ago I participated in the nation's largest Muslim advocacy day at the U.S. Capitol. Hosted by CAIR, the three-day event brought representatives from the American Muslim community and over 20 CAIR chapters to Washington, D.C., where we met with a third of the House of Representatives and a quarter of the Senate. In total we met with 168 congressional offices, 112 Democratic and 56 Republican. Some of these offices were longtime allies while others we met with for the first time. Read more
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Letter To President: Address Guantanamo Hunger Strike And Stalled Efforts To Close The Prison

As dozens of Guantanamo detainees carry on the hunger strike that began in early February over allegations of guards mishandling inmates' Qurans, CAIR is joining 24 other human and civil rights organizations today in sending a letter to President Obama calling for "immediate steps to end indefinite detention without charge and begin closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay." Reports differ between military officials and detainees' attorneys on the number of prisoners on hunger strike. The military is claiming that 26 out of the 166 inmates are on strike, with 11 being fed through feeding tubes, while attorneys and prisoners say 130 prisoners are on strike, and that one attempted suicide. As the hunger strike continues, the possibility of prisoner deaths becomes more imminent. Read more
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Someone Needs to Tell the North Carolina Legislature: the Constitution Still Applies to You

It's generally true that most lawmakers are lawyers, or at least are familiar with the law. It appears, however, that that may not be the case in North Carolina, where at least 11 Republicans sponsored a clearly unconstitutional bill that would allow North Carolina to declare Christianity its state religion by arguing that the First Amendment doesn't apply to states. One of the basics of constitutional law is that the Fourteenth Amendment (the one extending citizenship to former slaves) makes it clear that states are required to follow the U.S. Constitution, at least the provisions of the Bill of Rights. Read more
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Good News: Associated Press Takes Positive Step On Use Of 'Islamist'

Recently, The Associated Press (AP) emailed an update to its online Stylebook subscribers about revisions to the recommended use of the term "Islamist" by media professionals. (The AP Stylebook is perhaps the most influential publication of its type and impacts coverage worldwide.) Late last year, CAIR had approached AP about modifying the reference, which read at that time: "Islamist -- Supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi." Read more
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The Trouble With Drones

As the drone silently glides across the horizon, hundreds of civilians and militants alike are stalked. It surveils homes, businesses, hospitals, and schools, and reports its findings to officials safely installed in military compounds hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the dangers of war. A drone is not affected by human emotions, and it will not hesitate to take a life. During President Barack Obama's time in office, the United States has conducted over 300 drone strikes in Pakistan -- five times as many as under the Bush administration. These strikes have resulted in the deaths of an estimated 3,577 people; out of that number, 2,693 were deemed "combatants." Unfortunately, there is no real method for determining exactly how many of those 2,693 "combatants" belonged to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban or were fighters of any kind, since recent reports indicate that all military-aged males (typically anyone between the ages of 18 and 65) are targeted as combatants even if they may be unarmed civilian bystanders. Read more
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The Senate Should Confirm Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary

This week, the Senate will take up another vote to move forward on Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense. I believe he should be confirmed. His confirmation would send the signal that President Obama’s second term will be more diplomacy-oriented and less hawkish in its relations with the Muslim world. Sen. Hagel has a depth of knowledge of foreign affairs and connections with key players in the international arena that will serve him and our nation well as secretary of defense. Read more
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Give Thanks and Give to Those in Need

By Nihad Awad WORD COUNT: 611 (Nihad Awad is national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), America's largest Muslim civil rights organization. He may be contacted at: nawad@cair.com.) During our nation's current economic downturn, and in the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, many of our fellow Americans are suffering. Read more
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