Anti-Shariah Bills Cross Faith Lines
Several states are passing anti-shariah bills. But do they realize how these bills could affect other faith groups?
By Hesham A. Hassaballa, May 01, 2012
It seems quite innocuous, but clearly, it was intended to target the threat of sharia law. In many other states, similar laws do not mention sharia explicitly, but rather “foreign law” or “foreign codes.” As many have pointed out, this is a solution looking for a problem, as nowhere in America are Muslims seeking to supplant the Constitution with sharia law. If you think about this and delve into South Dakota’s law and similar laws in other states, one thing starts to become clear: Leaving aside the fact that these laws are discriminatory by their very nature, any law that bans “foreign codes” should cause Catholics to take heed.
Based on extensive field research focusing on five countries – Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland – the 100-page plus report documents an alarming increase in public fear and suspicion toward Muslims, as well as a disturbing acceleration of state practices that marginalise Muslims because of their faith, ethnic origin, gender, or a combination of these.
The report focuses on the impact of new legislation and policies restricting the wearing of religious and cultural symbols, and finds that far from contributing to social integration, this pattern has had the opposite effect, blighting individuals’ “prospects, opportunities and self-esteem”, and thus resulting in “isolation, exclusion and stigmatization.”
Ironically, the biggest victims of these trends are the most vulnerable: Muslim women and young people – the same people that European states often claim they are defending. “Muslims, and especially Muslim women, can be discriminated against in access to employment and at work simply because they wear specific forms of dress,” notes the report. This is “detrimental to women’s equality and autonomy”. Similarly, various types of bans on religious symbols or dress in schools has meant that Muslim pupils or students have been excluded from mainstream educational institutions. More broadly, the report notes that anti-Muslim stereotypes and prejudices against Muslim religious and cultural practices have curtailed or prevented the establishment of Muslim places of worship, further excluding Muslim communities from public life.
(ST. LOUIS, MO, 4/23/12) — The St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-St. Louis) today thanked county and law enforcement officials for agreeing to provide religious accommodation for Muslim women who wear an Islamic headscarf, or “hijab,” and are held in the St. Louis County Jail in Clayton, Mo.
April 23, 2012
Charges Against Shooter First Step Toward Justice for Trayvon Martin
“Trayvon’s parents remain in our hearts, and their courage and dignity throughout this terrible ordeal continue to inspire all of us who pray for justice,” Morial said.
The National Urban League will continue to watch the legal proceedings closely as the case proceeds to trail, Morial said. He also encouraged the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the actions of law enforcement officials in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
This morning, the National Urban League joined New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a coalition of civil rights, veterans rights and legal organizations to announce a “Second Chance at Stand Your Ground” campaign to urge legislators who voted in favor of these laws but now understand the significant unintended consequences of rising justifiable homicide rates to express their disapproval of the laws and participate in efforts to amend and repeal them.
Morial said he was proud of the Urban League Movement’s support for justice for Trayvon, particularly Central Florida Urban League President and CEO Allie Braswell, who was among the first to call for a special prosecutor in the case.
“I’m glad we were able to bring about a shift in the course of this case that has brought us to this point,” Braswell said. “The Urban League of Central Florida remains committed to seeing justice done, and we have confidence that special prosecutor Angela Corey will see it through.”
Morial added, “Without the commitment and passion of my fellow Urban Leaguers and the entire civil rights and social justice community, Trayvon’s case may never have proceeded to a full investigation. I believe the nation is on the road to healing from this tragedy.”
CONTACT: Teresa Candori
Black Teacher Fired For Supporting Trayvon Martin
By The Associated Press
Detroit, MI (April 11, 2012) — A teacher fired from a Michigan middle school after encouraging students to raise money for the family of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin said Tuesday she is confused by the dismissal and wants the school’s administration to explain.
Brooke Harris was dismissed in March from Pontiac Academy for Excellence after she supported students’ efforts to plan a wear-a-hoodie-to-school day. Martin was wearing a hoodie Feb. 26 when he was shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
BlackLikeMoi.Com — 3/28/2012
Cambridge, MA – When the Lubanga verdict was handed down at the International Criminal Court, rather than a chorus of celebration, there was qualified applause from pundits and publicists. Almost all the opinion pieces that examined the potential impact of the Lubanga verdict highlighted the oft-cited fact that all of the 28 people that have so far been indicted by the court have been Africans.
Separatist MNLA declares Azawad independence,
while Ansar Dine group wants to impose Islamic law.
April 8, 2012 Al Jazeera.Com
Mali has been plunged further into crisis after losing much of its north to Tuareg fighters and other armed groups.
The separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) have declared an independent state of Azawad, a zone the size of France, in Mali’s desert north.
They have an uneasy relationship with Ansar Dine, another Tuareg-led group that swept south, but that wants to impose Islamic law.
Al Jazeera’s correspondent Mohamed Vall reports from Timbuktu.
Source: Al Jazeera.Com
Black Off-Duty Cop Shot 28 Times By White Chicago Officers.
As much of the country follows the Trayvon Martin case, activists in Chicago are hoping to bring some of that attention to Howard Morgan, a former Chicago police officer who was shot 28 times by white officers — and lived to tell his side of the story.
March 16, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma state lawmaker who wrote the proposed ban on the use of Islamic law and other international tenets in state courtrooms lashed out Tuesday against the federal judge who blocked it, calling her the exact kind of “liberal, activist judge” the plan hopes to stop.
Former state Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, criticized U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange’s ruling this week to grant a preliminary injunction that prevents the state from certifying the results of the Nov. 2 election. More than 70 percent of voters approved State Question 755, which would place the ban into the state constitution.
Duncan, who attended the federal hearing in Oklahoma City, said Miles-LaGrange appears to be sympathetic to the plaintiff, Muneer Awad, a Muslim living in Oklahoma who claims the proposed ban is unconstitutional.
“She was well known to be a liberal, activist state senator, and I don’t know that her ruling is far from what one would have expected,” Duncan told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “One would surmise that her sympathies were with the plaintiff. But hers won’t be the final order on the matter.”
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma State Election Board voted Tuesday to ask the attorney general to appeal the court’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction. Charlie Price, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, told The Associated Press that such an appeal is “likely.”
Duncan, who stepped down from his House post to run for district attorney in Pawnee and Osage counties, said he sponsored the measure because he thinks Muslim rights groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations want to hijack the country’s legal system.
“CAIR and other groups … have been working deliberately to get Sharia statutes, Sharia-compliant banking, and to expand those toe-holds further into a greater presence in American courts,” Duncan said.
Awad, the plaintiff in the suit, is the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR.
Duncan said he’s also heard from lawmakers in as many as a dozen states who are interested in introducing similar bills, although he declined to say which states.
“It’s my understanding that some of these efforts probably won’t include Sharia by name, but will be intended to prevent foreign law, international law, from being used in those respective state courts,” Duncan said.
Gov.-elect Mary Fallin, a Republican, said Tuesday she supports the intent of preventing the use of Sharia law in Oklahoma courts. But she said she’s also heard concerns from some businesses that the measure could adversely affect international contracts.
“We’re going to work with incoming Attorney General Scott Pruitt to look at how we can maintain the intent of the law, but also deal with any of the unintended consequences that may come out of its passage,” Fallin said.
“Oklahoma voters may not have the legal background to understand that neither international law nor Sharia law presents a credible threat to the state, but our lawmakers should know better,” Thai said. “Politicians play on fears while statesmen rise above them. It’s pretty clear that politicians won the day with the passage of the amendment.”
TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – The Florida Republican-led legislature may be about to join a dozen other states in pushing a law that would prevent Florida courts from considering international law, specifically Sharia Law
However, according to the South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the law affects all religions including: Islam, Jewish, Hindu, and even Christian laws.
GOP-led legislatures across the country have been racing to see which one would be able to get the first anti-Sharia law passed and upheld by the courts. Oklahoma tried a similar bill, but it was thrown out because of the Constitution’s ban on religious discrimination or favoritism. (More)
David Yerushalmi, Islam-Hating White Supremacist Inspires Anti-Sharia Bills Sweeping Tea Party Nation
You’ve gotta hand it to David Yerushalmi. Until now, I can’t recall a Jew who’s ever been called a white supremacist before (actually now that I think of it, I called him a Jewish white supremacist way back in 2007). Thanks to him, we now can. They said that one of the virtues of Zionism was that now Israel could have Jewish criminals. I guess the same holds true for Jewish racists. Thanks to Dovid Yerushalmi Jews are really breaking new ground.I’m referring to an eye-opening expose in Mother Jones about the inspiration the Jewish extremist is offering for the anti-Muslim legal initiatives that are sweeping the south after the victory of one such campaign in Oklahoma a few months ago. Now Tennessee stands ready to draw the line at Muslim infidels thrusting their scimitars into the private parts of Christian maidens. The legislature there is considering a bill which would ban the use of foreign legal systems like Sharia in the adjudication of any legal matters within the state. So far, I haven’t seen any Tennesseans clamoring to apply Sharia to the laws governing horse-racing at Churchill Downs. But that doesn’t deter Yerushalmi, who has projects like this cooking in several other southern Tea Party strongholds. (More)
March 1, 2011
– State Legislators announced House Bill 708 Tuesday, that would ban Sharia law, as well as other foreign laws, from being applied in Missouri courts.
State Representative Paul Curtman (R-Pacific) is sponsoring the legislation, and says Missourians should be governed by American law. (More)
March 1, 2011
States across the country are considering far-right bills to ban Islamic law. For that, we have hate-group leader David Yerushalmi to thank.
Last week, legislators in Tennessee introduced a radical bill that would make “material support” for Islamic law punishable by 15 years in prison. The proposal marks a dramatic new step in the conservative campaign against Muslim-Americans. If passed, critics say even seemingly benign activities like re-painting the exterior of a mosque or bringing food to a potluck could be classified as a felony. (more)
But according to experts in counterterrorism law, if the tough-on-terror policies King trumpets today had taken effect a few decades earlier, King himself might have been subject to prosecution. Over parts of three decades, from his days as an aspiring politician in Long Island through his early years in Congress, King was one of the nation’s most outspoken supporters of the Irish Republican Army and a prolific fundraiser for the Irish Northern Aid Committee (NorAid), allegedly the IRA’s American fundraising arm. The IRA waged a paramilitary campaign against the British presence in Northern Ireland for decades before peace accords were signed in 1998. Part of that effort included bombings and shootings that resulted in civilian deaths in England and Northern Ireland. During the period of King’s involvement, the US government accused both NorAid and the IRA of links to terrorism, ( Read More).
“As a Jew, I am deeply troubled by the pattern across our Chicagoland and across America to deny Muslims houses of worship and community centers,” said Jane Ramsey, executive director of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.
Religious leaders urge approval of DuPage mosque
County is asked to reject Zoning Board’s decision against plan near Willowbrook
By Serena Maria Daniels and Joe Ruzich, Chicago Tribune
9:32 p.m. CST, January 19, 2011
Muslim leaders and representatives of other faiths are urging DuPage County officials to reject the recommendation of the county’s Zoning Board and allow construction of a mosque near Willowbrook (read more).
White House White Board: The Costs of Repealing Health Reform
01/19/2011 – The US has unveiled a series of commercial deals with China, as the countries’ presidents meet for talks in Washington.
The White House said on Wednesday that China had committed to buying $45bn worth of exports from the US, including a $19bn deal for 200 Boeing air planes.
The deals will support up to 235,000 jobs in 12 US states, according to the White House. In addition to the Boeing deal, China will also invest in US exports from agriculture, telecommunications and technology companies, including General Electric, Honeywell and Navistar.
01/19/2011 – Joanne Ladio, an organizer for the forum, said the event was created to learn more about Islam and dispel myths.
“We want people to have opinions coming from a place of knowledge,” she said. “We are not here tonight promoting, we are here to educate.”
The Tunisian uprising, which succeeded in toppling Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian president, has brought down the walls of fear, erected by repression and marginalisation, thus restoring the Arab peoples’ faith in their ability to demand social justice and end tyranny.
It is a warning to all leaders, whether supported by international or regional powers, that they are no longer immune to popular outcries of fury.
It is true that Ben Ali’s flight from the country is just the beginning of an arduous path towards freedom. It is equally true that the achievements of the Tunisian people could still be contained or confiscated by the country’s ruling elite, which is desperately clinging to power.
But the Tunisian intifada has placed the Arab world at a crossroads. If it fully succeeds in bringing real change to Tunis it will push the door wide open to freedom in Arab word. If it suffers a setback we shall witness unprecedented repression by rulers struggling to maintain their absolute grip on power.
Either way, a system that combined a starkly unequal distribution of wealth with the denial of freedoms has collapsed.
Despite a rare protest in Oman and cash and food being doled out in Kuwait, experts say the region will remain quiet.
Washington is desperately trying to head off a United Nations resolution condemning Jewish settlements in Jerusalem and the disputed West Bank territories that is presenting Barack Obama with one of the most acute dilemmas of his presidency.
When President Obama signs the 2010 Claims Settlement Act at the White House later today, black and Native American farmers will receive more than economic relief. Thousands of farmers will reap justice after sowing decades of activist mobilization in the face of USDA discrimination.
World Interfaith Harmony Week
The World Interfaith Harmony Week will fall on the first week of February of every year and aims to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week is a UN resolution for a worldwide week of interfaith harmony proposed in 2010 by HM King Abdullah II and HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan. The World Interfaith Harmony Week seeks to spread the message of harmony and tolerance among the followers of the three monotheistic faiths and all the world’s religions. The Week also seeks to promote the common basis of “Love of God and Love of the Neighbor, or Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbor” among religions as a means to safeguard world peace. Its message invites everyone, excludes no one, and is purely voluntary.
The objectives behind the World Interfaith Harmony Week are:
1 – To co-ordinate and unite the efforts of all the interfaith groups doing positive work with one focused theme at one specific time annually, thereby increasing their collective momentum and eliminating redundancy.
2 -To Harness and utilise the collective might of the world’s second-largest infrastructure (that of places of worship — the largest being that of education) specifically for peace and harmony in the world: inserting, as it were, the right “software” into the world’s religious “hardware”.
3 -To permanently and regularly encourage the silent majority of preachers to declare themselves for peace and harmony and providing a ready-made vehicle for them to do so. Moreover, if preachers and teachers commit themselves on the record once a year to peace and harmony, this means that when the next inter-religious crisis or provocation occurs, they cannot then relapse into parochial fear and mistrust, and will be more likely to resist the winds of popular demagoguery.
If you share our aims and objectives than we encourage you to join with us in this UN-sponsored World Interfaith Harmony Week by hosting some events this upcoming February and let us know about it by posting your events information here!
How can you support WIHW?
(1) Write a personal email or letter of support for this initiative and post it at www.worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com .
(2) Posting this page on your profile and inviting friends to “like” it.
(3) Posting any resources you think would be important to theme of the World Interfaith Harmony Week at www.worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com at the appropriate place.
(4) Organizing yourself an event or simple a sermon or a lecture or an event on the first week of next February on the theme of Interfaith Harmony.
(5) Recording you event at http://www.worldinterfaithharmonyweek.com at the appropriate place according to your own country.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week will fall on the first week of February of every year and aims to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.
The World Interfaith Harmony Week is a UN resolution for a worldwide week of interfaith harmony proposed in 2010 by HM King Abdullah II and HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan. The World Interfaith Harmony Week seeks to spread the message of harmony and tolerance among the followers of the three monotheistic faiths and all the…
Oklahoma has a relatively large population of American Indians, who make up about eight percent of the state population, compared to one percent of the country as a whole. Part of the reason so many Indians live in the state is forced relocation programs like the Trail of Tears, which moved tribes from land in the Deep South to what the federal government
Recently, voters in Oklahoma passed an anti-Muslim ballot measure (SQ 755). If enacted, it will be discrimination with the force of law and the weight of government behind it. The right of Oklahoma Muslims to execute a will, sign a marriage contract, buy a house with Islamic financing, wearing hijab in an ID photo, or even being buried according to their religious beliefs could be impeded.
But in our currently barren intellectual state and with a political climate that mistrusts debate and demands compliance, education has been shackled to standards and competencies with a very narrow instrumentalist view of the curriculum. So education has become the constraining factor and perhaps religion may offer a way forward?
India and its Forced Religious Conversions
India and its Forced Religious Conversions
Earlier this month, Muslim slum-dwellers complained they had been tricked into a conversion ceremony by Hindu groups who attracted them with promises of cheap government rations and voter identity cards. Indian police are investigating the case.
In another incident, a Hindu priest-turned-lawmaker of Modi’s party planned a conversion ceremony on Christmas Day, but cancelled the event after the prime minister intervened.
Supporters define such events as a ‘homecoming’, saying families signing up for the ceremonies were originally Hindus.