Yassin Ibn Mika’i claims he filed a discrimination complaint against the TriMet transit agency, because a bus driver asked him “How’s the jihad going for you?” when he stepped onto a No. 94 bus in Tigard wearing his Muslim headrag. But that’s not the whole story, according to a rider who was on the same crowded Tigard-to-Sherwood bus on Aug. 29th.
Litigation Jihadist Yassin Ibn Mika’i
Oregon Live Chris Gale of Tigard said the driver was provoked after Ibn Mika’il started an argument and wouldn’t back off. “When he got on, he asked if the bus had air-conditioning,” Gale said. “When the driver said no, he demanded to be let off, but the driver had already left the stop.” Ibn Mika’il stood near the driver and began to complain loudly as the bus moved through heavy traffic, “which the driver took for about 20 seconds,” Gale said.
The two men exchanged heated words, with Ibn Mika’il finally demanding that the bus be stopped and a supervisor called, Gale said. “We pulled over and waited for a supervisor,” he said. Did the driver make a snide comment about jihad during the confrontation? “No other passengers heard it, but the driver did tell the supervisor he said it,” Gale sad.
At the same time, Gale said the driver had already been dealing with a rude passenger who was haranguing him for not making a courtesy stop along a long stretch of Oregon 99W. “That guy finally gets off. And then, right after that, (Ibn Mika’il) gets on,” Gale said. “That poor driver was taking a lot of abuse.”
As the riders waited for the TriMet supervisor to arrive, Gale said the driver and Ibn Mika’il continued their back and forth. He said Ibn Mika’il was cussing so much during the conversation that a family with two small children got off the bus. “The half dozen or so of us that stayed on the bus all filled out comment cards, which to my knowledge all supported the driver,” Gale said. “I included my contact info, but the have not been called by TriMet about it.”
TriMet said it is investigating Ibn Mika’il’s complaint. “We contacted the operator and the matter is currently under investigation,” said TriMetspokeswoman Mary Fetsch. Because it involves a personnel matter, Fetsch said she couldn’t release many details about the case. TriMet denied The Orgeonian’s requests to see a copy of Mika’il’s complaint or any rider commendations for the driver. “We can’t release any information while the personnel matter is under investigation,” Fetsch said.
Ibn Mika’il of Sherwood has not responded to The Oregonian’s requests for an interview. However, he told FOX 12that he believes the driver discriminated against him because of his religion and said the supervisor was opposed to including the “jihad” comment in his report on the incident.
Apparently not, because they are crying “discrimination and prejudice” over San Diego International Airport’s new body odor test for cab drivers. Body odor is among 52 criteria that officials at San Diego International Airport use to judge taxi drivers. Anyone who flunks the smell test is told to change before picking up another customer.
ABC News(h/t Henry P) For years, inspectors with the San Diego Regional Airport Authority run down their checklist for each cabbie — proof of insurance, functioning windshield wipers, adequate tire treads, good brakes and now body odor. Drivers are graded pass, fail or needs fixing. Leaders of the United Taxi Workers of San Diego union say the litmus perpetuates a stereotype that predominantly foreign-born taxi drivers smell bad. (They DO, especially Pakistani and Somali Muslims)
A 2013 survey of 331 drivers by San Diego State University and Center on Policy Initiatives found 94 percent were immigrants and 65 percent were from East Africa. Drivers wonder how inspectors determine who reeks. Driver Abel Seifu, 36, from Ethiopia, suspects they sniff inconspicuously during friendly conversations in the staging area. Airport authority spokeswoman Rebecca Bloomfield said there is “no standard process” to testing.
Others drivers question how inspectors distinguish between them and their cars. The checklist has a separate item for a vehicle’s “foul interior odors,” which Bloomfield says may include gasoline, vomit or mildew. “If they want to bring their smell detector, they can use it to test the customers and the drivers,” said driver Negus Gebrenarian, 39, from Ethiopia. He, like other drivers, said the stench is just as likely to come from the back seat as it is from the front.
The airport authority says it is enforcing a policy of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, which regulates taxis throughout the region, that prohibits foul-smelling drivers and promotes regular bathing (something very foreign to most Muslims). It also says the practice is about satisfying customers.
“Taxi drivers are often the first impression that travelers receive when arriving into San Diego and we want to encourage a positive experience,” Bloomfield said. Inspectors have been smelling drivers for years. There was no controversy until a union employee waded through a 568-page airport board agenda and noticed the checklist, which had been approved in July for revisions unrelated to the body odor test. KPBS reported on the practice last week.
San Diego’s policy appears to be unusually explicit about sniffing out smelly cabbies. Chicago requires that drivers be “clean and neat in their appearance.” New York City’s wording is similarly broad. Seattle long evaluated cabbies for body odor associated with infrequent bathing and not washing clothes but dropped that test last month for a more general requirement on cleanliness.
“The industry didn’t like it and they felt that we were kind of overstepping: Why are we dictating to them? We don’t tell city employees that you’ve got to shower more often,” said Denise Movius, Seattle’s deputy director of finance and administrative services.
Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the 18,000-member New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said her face reddened with anger and dismay when she learned about the San Diego practice. She suggested the airport leave it to customers to complain about body odor. “What a dehumanizing way to treat your workers,” she said.
Daniel Johnson, an 18-year-old Marine who came from Flint, Michigan, said it’s fair to grade on body odor, especially considering the $70 fare to get to his base. He has felt trapped in smelly cabs in other cities. “The smell puts a sour expression on your face and you’re thinking I just don’t want to be in here,” he said.
FEDERAL LAW IS VERY CLEAR: Dogs are recognized as service animals and all businesses open to the public, including restaurants, must allow them in. But a U.S. Army veteran, Richard Hunter, says a Subway restaurant in Paterson, New Jersey owned by Muslims who are notorious dog haters, blatantly ignored the law, and kicked him out because of the dog.
ABC News(h/t Grant B) The sign on the door seemingly said it all: “Service animals are welcome,” but Hunter claims the Muslim manager, later identified as Mitul Ahmed, a Muslim, said something very different. “I may have been holding the door when he first said something. He said, ‘The dog is not allowed in here. Get the dog out of here,'” Hunter said.
“He was clearly identified as a service animal,” Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Sarah Wallace said. “He was wearing what he has on right now,” Hunter said. “I said he was a service animal.” “He didn’t care,” Wallace said. “That’s exactly what he said, ‘I don’t care,'” Hunter said. Hunter called the cops who said they couldn’t do anything. He then called the owner. “The owner told me straight up: ‘I can refuse service to anyone I want,'” Hunter said.
Muslim Owner’s son, Zaphir Pathan
When Eyewitness News found the manager, Mitul Ahmed, behind the counter he denied everything. “You’re not Mitul Ahmed,” Wallace said. “No, he’s not here,” Ahmed said. Oh, and that sign on the door, suddenly changed. The line about service animals welcome was removed. The owner’s son, Zaphir Pathan arrived, with a foot-long list of excuses.
Lt. Colonel Sherwood Baker had stopped at Rochester Adams High School during the day to clear up an issue with his daughter’s class schedule. But when Baker tried to go in, a (Muslim?) security guard told him that he could not enter wearing the uniform because it could offend (Muslim?) people. (Michigan has one of the largest Muslim populations in the country)
FOX News “They told him some kids might not understand and might be offended. So they gave him a choice, told him he could phone in to the office or go home and change his clothes,” said Rachel Ferhadson, the Lt. Colonel’s wife.
At that point, the couple called the superintendent’s office from the parking lot and a staff member came out to let him in the school. Ferhadson says the superintendent, a combat Marine veteran himself, was also “appalled” at what happened and the principal has also expressed regret to the family.
From Washington state to Florida, surprising letters from banks have turned up in the mailboxes of at least a dozen Muslims. The message in each case: Your bank account is being closed. What frustrates the recipients is not only that they are all of Middle Eastern descent — leading them to suspect discrimination — but that the banks refused to provide the reason for kicking them out. (Not required to)
LA Times “We never understood what’s going on,” said AbdulHyee Waqas, who had his Bellevue, Wash., nonprofit group’s account closed. “We had been a good customer. It was very disheartening.” Last summer, a Minneapolis dentist went so far as to write detailed explanations of all his transactions, hoping that TCF Bank would let him reopen the joint account with his wife and his personal account. The response: Sorry, we’re not interested in your business.
University of Minnesota student Amir-Pouyan Shiva from Iran got the letter just before New Year’s: TCF Bank would be closing the account he and his wife had maintained for five years. Several other Iranian students also got the letter.
“I don’t see why there would be a red flag on anything I performed,” said the dentist, a Kuwait native who requested anonymity for fear of retribution from his current bank. “Maybe they have something I’m not aware of, but they said they couldn’t say anything.”
A Florida attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations has asked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to look into the closures and determine whether race is playing factor in the decisions. A Justice Department spokeswoman said the issue was a matter for banking regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“The bureau takes seriously any allegations of discrimination in the consumer financial marketplace and is committed to ensuring consumers have fair and equal access to credit,” a bureau spokeswoman said in a statement. But she added: “We cannot confirm or comment on whether any investigation is ongoing.”
Frustrated by the responses from regulators, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is contemplating a lawsuit against banks, said Executive Director Dawud Walid.
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is outraged…as usual
The Times has verified about a dozen closures involving Muslims, immigrants from the Middle East, and groups such as Council on American-Islamic Relations chapters, but activists say scores more have been affected. Similar concerns emerged in London this summer. Banking experts say that as banks have faced increasing scrutiny from regulators in a post-recession world, they are eliminating as much risk as possible. Lacking clarity on what might trigger government fines, banks are being overly cautious, some experts say.
“It’s not inconceivable to think an Islamic American or Arab American would be closed due to their perceived higher risk because of their connections to high-risk jurisdictions,” said Brian Kindle of the Assn. of Certified Financial Crime Specialists. “There’s something going on here, and I think it ties back to the de-risking trend.”
But the complaints of those forced to shift money to new banks raise questions: Why don’t banks explain the reason for a closure? Aren’t they required to do so by law? “Legally, they could say [for example] you bounced too many checks,” said Peter Swire, an expert in law and ethics at Georgia Tech University. “But banks historically have been very cautious about explaining their reasons because banks are understandably worried about frauds, and when they close an account on suspicion of fraud, they don’t want to tip off the fraudster about what they gave them away.”
Swire said it might be a good idea to create a system allowing people who feel unfairly tagged as suspicious to seek redress. He pointed to the Transportation Security Administration’s policy of letting fliers file a challenge if they believe that they have ended up on a no-fly list without cause. “For individuals on the no-fly list, there’s a procedure now and people get their names cleared and affirm their right to fly,” he said.
Kindle, the financial crimes expert, said that even if there were a way to challenge a bank’s decision, the decision wouldn’t necessarily change. Sofian Zakout in Miami said he had barely signed the backs of his new Chase Bank debit and card cards when he received a letter saying the personal and business accounts he had just opened were being closed.
He said he spent two hours answering personal questions by phone to open the accounts — questions that he called even more thorough than the ones he had received in the past from Department of Homeland Security officials. “I was very proud to answer all their questions. No problem. I didn’t take it wrongly,” he said. But dealing with the bank was a different matter. “To shut me down — this is not good,” Zakout said. “This kind of prejudice is not acceptable.”
One account was for his charity, American Muslims for Emergency and Relief Inc., which has helped victims of Hurricane Katrina and the civil war in Syria, he said. “Usually nonprofit and charitable organizations are scared to publicize such things,” he said of the closure. “I’m not going to be quiet. I don’t want to see this happening to anyone again.”
In Washington state, Waqas said switching banks left his group unable to spend money for a couple of months because of uncertainty about whether checks would bounce if they were deposited too late. Arranging the transfer and finding a new bank also brought extra work.
He said the organization, the Washington chapter of the Islamic Circle of North America, had a core of about 10 people who hold open houses at mosques and attend community events to introduce people to Islam. They also volunteer at homeless shelters and disburse funds to the indigent.
Graph of the network of Hamas affiliated organizations linked to the Holy Land Foundation and their terrorist fundraising in the U.S.
“Small, local organizations are trying to do some good work, and it looks that someone at the bank found something they didn’t like, and they didn’t have to answer to anyone,” he said of the closure. “Being a good customer, we deserve to at least know if we missed anything so we know we can act accordingly.” He would like to see a government forum where he could complain without enduring an expensive court battle.
“That this is national phenomenon — it’s kind of worrying, because if next they don’t like some other type of organization, will they shut down them?” he said of the banks. “There’s apparently no checks or ability to stop them.”
Radical pro-Hamas Muslim activist was threatened with beheading in the streets of Brooklyn. Linda Sarsour, the 34-year-old extremist director of the Arab American Association of New York, was allegedly attacked and insulted by Brian Boshell as she left her group’s headquarters on Fifth Ave. in Bay Ridge.
Linda Sarsour, Radical Muslim activist
NY Daily NewsAn Arab Muslim rights activist was attacked in Brooklyn Wednesday by a man who hurled slurs and threatened to behead her to “see how your people feel about it,” authorities and the victim said.
Linda Sarsour, 34, director of the Arab American Association of New York, was leaving the group’s headquarters on Fifth Ave. in Bay Ridge at 12:20 p.m. when Brian Boshell, 45, allegedly threatened her, called her an “Arab b—-” and insulted her in Arabic. Boshell, who is white, then allegedly chucked a trash can at her and a woman walking with her, Sarsour said. Neither woman was injured.
She said she had called the police reporting Boshell as a suspicious person before the attack, but officers didn’t respond until afterward. Sarsour vented her anger at the allegedly slow response on her Facebook page.
Boshell was charged with menacing and aggravated harassment as a hate crime and criminal possession of weapon.
Here’s what the media isn’t telling you about Linda Sarsour: An Islamist activist honored by the White House last December as a “Champion of Change” called Zionism “racism” and said “nothing is creepier” than the belief in a Jewish homeland. Linda Sarsour also posted two links on her Twitter feed to a rabidly anti-Israel video by a New York poet that accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing.
IPTSarsour, director of the Arab American Association of New York, is on record defending terror suspects, casting skepticism over law enforcement investigations and advancing conspiracy theories. She also believes there is a government conspiracy against Muslims and that the authorities were behind Malcolm X’s assassination. During a Feb. 23, 2012 interview with Russia TV, Sarsour claimed that “Islamophobia” today is a continuation of the genocide of native Americans and the slavery of African Americans.
Sarsour dismissed reports about an al-Qaeda plot to blow up an airplane using a more sophisticated, more difficult to detect, underwear bomb. Rather than celebrate this outcome, Sarsour leapt to a false conclusion, claiming that in a May 8 Twitter post that it was a CIA inside job. In fact, the bomb plot was quite real.
But it fits with her view that there is “War on Islam” led by the United States. That narrative is considered among the most effective messages in radicalizing young Muslims.
“The value of Arab life – whether nameless Palestinian children bombed by American-funded fighter jets or American youth profiled, questioned and incarcerated for frequenting a particular mosque – is spiraling downwards rapidly in the US and at a more accelerated rate in the Arab World,” she wrote in a March 22, 2012 Al-JazeeraEnglish opinion piece.
She demonized law enforcement at a 2010 panel discussion at the Islamic Society of North America’s national convention. During a question and answer session at New York University with White House terrorism adviser John Brennan two years earlier, Sarsour lamented the Patriot Act and cast the arrest of terror suspects as an unjust and everyday occurrence in the Muslim community.
But it is her Palestinian advocacy that seems to set Sarsour most at odds with American policy and ideals. She expressed misgivingsabout Saddam Hussein’s 2003 capture by American forces in Iraq, saying she felt humiliated by his appearance because he was a hero to Palestinians. “”I think he’s done a lot of things he shouldn’t have done, but I was hurt. My Arab pride was hurt,” she said. “Palestinians are under so much oppression and no other Arab country ever helped them.”
She does not condemn Hamas leadership, its history of suicide terrorism or its indiscriminate firing of rockets at Israeli communities. Any notion that she’s a responsible and moderate voice for the Muslim community, one worthy of access to the halls of power, ignores a darker, extremist record.
Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall, who did just that recently, says he’s considering a run for mayor of Nashville in 2015.
BeliefNet(h/t Les D) A Muslim woman told to remove the veil covering her face to pose for a jail mugshot has prompted Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall in Nashville, Tennessee, to revise his policy regarding religious headwear.
The woman complained to the American Civil Liberties Union, which took up her cause. As a result, “beginning Friday,” reports Erin Quinn of the NashvilleTennessean newspaper, “a person wearing face-covering religious headwear who is being booked into the jail will have two mugshots – one with the coverings on; the other will be taken with the headwear removed from the person’s face.”
According to Quinn: The second shot will be taken in the presence only of a same-sex guard, be kept in a confidential file, and opened only through judicial order, said Karla Weikal, sheriff’s office spokeswoman.
The same rule applies at security checkpoints at Justice A.A. Birch Criminal Justice Building, Historic Metro-Nashville Courthouse and Davidson County Juvenile Justice Center. If someone wearing a type of religious headwear sets off a metal detector at the entrance, the person will be taken to a private room by a guard of the same sex. There, the person will remove the headdressing and be screened.
While local civil rights and religious leaders Tuesday applauded the revisions, Middle Tennessee law enforcement officials said the sheriff’s office is taking things a bit too far. What’s next – driver’s licenses?
JRNDavidson County Sheriff Daron Hall has announced he is considering a run for mayor of Nashville in 2015. “The opportunity is there,” said Hall on MorningLine on NewsChannel 5+.
For years, Hall has been asked about a possible run for higher office. He has always said his focus is on his job as sheriff and that he has no interest. But, now that’s changed. Hall confirmed that he, his family and close associates have started exploring a run for mayor. He expects to make an official announcement this summer.
Well, actually HAMMAS, a misspelled version of Hamas, listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, on a New York State license plate that the DMV says it’s revoking because it is offensive to Americans and politically-charged. (How long until we see beheadings in the streets of NYC?)
NY 1(h/t DM)The plate reads HAMMAS, and was spotted on a black Dodge that was parked in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Wednesday and had a Palestinian flag spread across the windshield. The DMV says the plate should not have been issued. “We are pulling this plate off the road as patently offensive,” Jackie McGinnis of the state Department of Motor Vehicles said in a statement. “The group represented by the name on the plate is also on the list of entities designated by the U.S. Government as a terrorist organization.” DMV regulations say the agency can refuse to issue a license plate it deems obscene, derogatory or offensive.
No information as to the owner of the car displaying the plate, but you can bet it’s a Muslim.
In the photo above, we see AL-QASSM under the plate which likely is another misspelling for Al-Qassam (Brigades), the military arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, which now is the military arm of Hamas. According to a bulletin issued by Al-Qassam on its 20th anniversary, the number of members in Gaza alone exceeds 10,000. Al-Qassam has four brigades: Northern Gaza Brigade, Gaza Brigade, Central Gaza Brigade and Southern Gaza Brigade.
Resident of Kuna, Idaho, are opposing a proposal for a Muslim cemetery because of concerns for the environment, stemming from the unsanitary conditions that result from the Muslim custom of burying the dead in just a shroud, without any kind of casket.
Not to worry, Eric Holder and the Department of Jihadi Justice are ready to hit the town with a ‘discrimination’ lawsuit if the proposed cemetery does not get approval. Because in Obama-land, sharia law may override American law. Wouldn’t want to offend any muslims, now would we?
Idaho Press The Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Boise submitted a proposal for a license to use land outside Kuna as a cemetery. The proposal was appealed, and a public meeting will be held to comments about the appeal and the proposed cemetery. The ICBB applied to build a 10-acre cemetery and a chapel at 15000 Cloverdale Road.
Due to Islamic burial practices, a Kuna resident sent a letter issuing concerns about to the sanitation and appearance of the cemetery. According to the Islamic beliefs, bodies are not embalmed and not buried in coffins. The body is sheathed in white cotton or linen cloth, and according the ICBB, buried at least half the height of the deceased.
The letter from the concerned Kuna resident presented three concerns with the cemetery. The resident’s letter said burying the dead in only a cloth would leave the bodies susceptible to animals digging up a corpse, which could spread diseases. Bodies being dug up would cost the city community money, the letter said. Finally, the resident said the cemetery would hurt the esthetic value of Kuna.
The public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 10 in the Commissioners Main Hearing Room 1235 at 200 West Front street in Boise.
So where is CAIR calling for a “hate crime” investigation, now? Crickets. Columbus Police said they’ve never seen anything like it – three churches vandalized in the same night…apparently by Muslims, considering that the Christian-hating graffiti contained very specific quotes from the quran.
FOX 59Three Columbus churches are hit by graffiti artists, who left a message that many are questioning. The graffiti artist tagged the outside of the churches with specific chapters and verses from the Quran. The vandalism is being condemned by members of the Islamic religion and the entire community.
The word “infidels” and “Qur’an 3:151″ were written in black spray paint on the front and side of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church.
“We will cast terror in the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which he had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.” –Quran 3:151
“It’s upsetting to people, certainly because we have a beautiful church, but also because what is the message if there is a message? Because, there’s just not a whole lot to go on,” said Father Doug Marcotte, Associate Pastor for St. Bartholomew Catholic Church.
Fr. Marcotte thinks it happened sometime between Saturday night and before Sunday church services. It was discovered, but quickly removed. Though there are still a lot of questions as to why “infidels”, and why the Quran. “What are you trying to say, and are you just trying to be mean,” asked Fr. Marcotte. (No, they just want to kill you)
Similar graffiti was cleaned off the front of Lakeview Church of Christ in Columbus. No specific mention of the Quran here, but “infidels” and another word were spray painted by the front door. “Qur’an 19:88″ and “infidels” were left on two spots of East Columbus Christian Church during that same time period.
They (Christians) say: “The Most Gracious has betaken a son!” Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it the skies are about to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, that they attributed a son to the Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the majesty of the Most Gracious that He should beget a son. Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to The Most Gracious as a servant.” (Quran 19:88-93)
“We condemn this, and I read the verse, most importantly what that showed me is the ignorance who actually misquoted or misinterpreted the Quran,” said Nassim Khaled, a resident of Columbus who volunteers at the Islamic Center. (CRAP. It means exactly what they wanted to convey to Christians)
Khaled says the important thing to realize is reading the verses, that were spray painted on the buildings, alone, can make them sound scary. In his eyes, they’re actually far from that. Khaled met with members of that East Columbus Christian Church to show togetherness. (The quran IS scary)
Police have been notified, and one of the churches actually had a surveillance camera nearby. They hope that’ll provide some clue as to who did this. (WHAT – No mention of a hate crime?)
Two Muslims are facing charges after Volusia County deputies said they started a fight at a bar Wednesday night. Staff at the Jus’ Beachy Bar on Ocean Shore Boulevard claimed they refused to serve alcohol to 54-year-old Faisal Albagdadi (photo right) and 30-year-old Ahmed Hindi after they walked into the bar already drunk.
Click Orlando “I need cops at Jus’ Beachy Pecker’s Pub immediately. I got a huge fight going. I mean they’re tearing shit up,” the caller told 911 dispatchers. “We wouldn’t even serve him when he came in, he was so drunk.” Deputies said that’s when the men got angry and attacked the customers. “They’re using chairs and everything else,” the caller told dispatchers.
Deputies said the men smashed six bar stools, threw several glasses that cut one woman in the eye and beat up a couple of men. At one point, the fight got so out of control, the dispatcher couldn’t get a hold of the caller. The men took off before deputies arrived, but the caller was able to get their tag number and the description of their car. Ormond Beach police then quickly tracked down the car and arrested the men.
The arrest report showed that not only did Hindi deny initiating the bar fight, deputies said Albagdadi was uncooperative and threatened to “kidnap an American and behead him, once he’s released from jail.”
Both men face criminal mischief and battery charges. The other customers were not seriously injured. However, the men allegedly caused more than $1,200 in damage.
Seasoned pros at playing the ‘victim’ card, Muslims in America are taking the concept of ‘chutzpah’ to a whole new level by demanding that the U.S. government give them special protection during their pilgrimage to the Hajj in Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Think Progress(h/t Larry A) A group of American Muslims sent a letterto the U.S. State Department on Tuesday, imploring the government to provide protection against militants and other threats that could endanger them during their religious pilgrimage to Mecca in October.
The letter, signed by 28 different Muslim groups, asked Secretary of State John Kerry to take measures to safeguard Americans participating in this year’s hajj, an annual ritual required of all followers of Islam who have the ability and means to make the journey to Mecca.
“We urge you to take immediate action to protect American citizens who travel overseas to perform one of the five mandatory acts of their faith and ensure that Saudi Arabia addresses this urgent security matter in preparation for the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage,” the letter read.
Signers cited several reasons for sending the letter, but rooted their concern in a 2013 incidentwhen a group of American Muslims were brutally attacked as they took part in the hajj. While staying at a camp outside of Mecca, a band of Lebanese-Australians reportedly confronted the U.S. citizens, which included three women featured in the reality TV show All-American Muslim.
“The right to freely practice one’s faith without fear of harassment, intimidation, or violence is a constitutional guarantee, as well as an international human rights norm,” the letter read.
“Every American citizen traveling or living abroad should have full assurance that the U.S. government will come vigorously to his or her defense if they are unjustly detained, attacked, or harassed by local authorities,” the letter read. “These protections, including but not limited to meaningful access to full consular services, must be afforded to all American citizens visiting Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj.”
The U.S. attorney’s office and the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit Wednesday against the city of St. Anthony, contending its City Council violated federal law by rejecting a proposed Islamic indoctrination center in 2012. U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said his office found that the council’s decision to deny the Abu Huraira Islamic Center the right to worship in the St. Anthony Business Center violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act passed by Congress.
Star Tribune Federal authorities are asking for an injunction from a federal judge ordering St. Anthony to permit the group to use the basement of the business center.
In June 2012, the council voted down the proposed center, concluding that a religious and cultural center was incompatible with the site’s light-industrial zoning. The council’s 4-1 decision went against a city planning commission recommendation to approve the 15,000-square-foot center in the old Medtronic headquarters at 3055 Old Highway 8.
The council decision came after some St. Anthony residents voiced their opposition to the proposed center. More than 150 people packed the meeting, and some made disparaging remarks about the Muslim faith. Jim Roth, the lone council member to back the Islamic center, predicted at the time of the vote that the council’s rejection would spawn a lawsuit. Roth said he was “embarrassed” and “stunned” by some of the remarks made.
On Wednesday, St. Anthony officials continued to defend the council’s action, saying that the rejection of the Islamic center was based purely on zoning issues. “Religious uses of any type are allowed in the vast majority of the city. They are just not allowed in the roughly five percent of the city reserved for industrial uses,” said St. Anthony City Attorney Jay Lindgren.
Lindgren said the denial “was not based on discrimination at all,” but rather “on the conclusion that religious assembly of any type is not allowed in an industrial zone. “An industrial zone is designed to create jobs and be an economic engine,” he said.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Minneapolis has spent two years investigating the matter, with its spokeswoman saying at one point that it had sought to reach an out-of-court agreement with the parties.
At the heart of the federal suit is the allegation that the City Council treated an application for a conditional-use permit to assemble at the business center on less-than-equal terms from other, nonreligious conditional-use permits for assembly. While prohibiting the Islamic center in the light industrial zone, it allowed for a union hall with banquet facilities to be rented by the public, the suit said. The city permitted the union hall because the light industrial zone allowed for “assemblies, meeting lodges and convention halls.”
The Minnesota Chapter of terror-linked CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) had asked federal authorities to investigate whether the city violated the federal law on religious land use. In August 2012, two months after the council’s rejection, the Muslim group proposing the Islamic centerpurchased the former Medtronic Inc. headquarters for $1.9 million.
The suit contends that the Islamic center conducts an “assembly” and therefore barring it violates federal law. Lindgren said there was a similar denial of a Christian-based organization around that same time as well.
Mosques and Islamic schoolprojects have faced opposition across the state. Some community members opposed projects in Plymouth, Willmar, Bloomington and Blaine, as well as out of state as in Murfreesboro, TN, where a 2-year hostile battle raged, but all were reluctantly approved, thanks to pressure from the Feds.
The U.S. attorney’s office said that the treatment of the center’s backers added substantial burdens to its members practicing their faith. “Abu Huraira members’ ability to exercise their religion is limited by their current worship site options, including, but not limited to the fact that members in the northern Twin Cities are burdened from praying together based on the lengthy of time it takes to travel to the worship centers in south Minneapolis,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.
“Moreover,” the statement said, “prayer space at locations in Minneapolis are too small to accommodate members, many of whom often have to pray in hallways or entryways, and hold multiple pray sessions in shifts to accommodate crowds.”
After the council denied the permit in St. Anthony, three churches in St. Anthony held an interfaith meeting between Christian sympathizers and Muslim leaders in July 2012 to address some of the negative comments made at the council meeting.
“Some things had been said at the City Council meeting that sounded unwelcoming and unfriendly. There was a desire to show a different face on things,” said Rev. Paul La Fontaine, with St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church which co-sponsored the event. He said he was surprised by news of the federal lawsuit.
Asked about the community’s perception of the Muslim faith, he said: “In light of recent events overseas, there is a certain concern. St. Anthony is a “first-ring” suburb of Minneapolis that’s just 2.35 square miles with 8,200 people.
Muslim assailants hurled anti-Semitic slurs before attacking the woman and punching her husband as he tried to stop them.
INNA Jewish couple in New York were physically assaulted Monday by an anti-Semitic gang, who then fled the scene in cars flying the Palestinian Authority flag, according to the New York Post. Police sources say two cars and several motorbikes suddenly pulled up next to the couple as they were walking on East 63rd Street near Third Avenue on the Upper East Side, just after 8 p.m. Monday evening.
The attackers then started shouting “anti-Jewish statements,”, before launching their assault. One of the men struck the woman with a water bottle, and another punched her husband in the side of his head as he intervened to defend her.
The victims, who live in the area, were left shaken but not seriously injured. Their identities have not been released, but the Post said the husband was 27 years old, and that they may have been targeted because he was wearing a kippa (skullcap).
The city of Dearborn is a well-known safe haven for Muslims in America. With a population of around 98,000 people, roughly 30% (30,000) of Dearborn residents are Muslim, making it the largest concentration of Muslims in the United States. So, I guess this means that up to 29,970 of the rest of them could, in fact, be ISIS supporters. Hmmm.
Funny though, Muslims seem to have no problem coming out in large numbers – hundreds and thousands – to protest against the NYPD, Israel, or a video about the prophet Mohammed. Just sayin’.