Friday, August 21, 2009
Please write a letter of thanks to Seattle Times reporter, Janet Tu, for such a well-researched and informative article. Ms. Tu's e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Muslims testify to mistreatment when returning to U.S.
(SEATTLE, WA, 8/20/09) - A representative of the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) met yesterday with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to discuss allegations of racial and religious profiling at border checkpoints.
To file a report of alleged border profiling, go to:
During Wednesday's meeting, CAIR's representative outlined the Muslim community's concerns and five local Muslims told of being handcuffed, pinned to the ground, having guns pointed at them, hearing alarms sound when approaching a checkpoint, and reported anti-Muslim slurs from CBP agents.
"Numerous local Muslims who are U.S. citizens, professionals and active volunteers in their communities have reported disturbing treatment at the border when returning home," said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari.
Bukhari says reported treatment included being detained for up to eight hours, being handcuffed and kept in holding cells, having the contents of their wallets and purses photocopied, and having data from their electronic devices downloaded and retained by border officers.
"It is unconscionable that government officials treat upstanding citizens as if they are criminals," said Bukhari.
The officials taking part in the Wednesday meeting offered to continue the dialogue about community concerns relating to claims of racial and religious profiling by border security personnel.
Those taking part in the meeting also included representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), several congressional offices, the San Juan County Council, the Friday Harbor City Council, Colville Tribes, One America, Community to Community, and Jefferson County Democrats.
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.
- END -
Friday, August 29, 2008
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043
Torture hurts everyone; it must stop.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Seattle Muslims Urge Balance in Police Training on Islam
'Former Muslim' will 'contextualize' Israeli experience for Port of Seattle
SEATTLE, May 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Washington state chapter of the
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) is calling on Port of Seattle
Police to ensure that a two-day training course that begins today, titled "The
Threat of Islamic Jihadists to the World," will offer a balanced perspective
on Islam and Muslims.
SEE: "The Threat of Islamic Jihadists to the World"
CAIR-WA said local Muslim leaders recently met with Chief of Port of Seattle
Police Colleen Wilson to express their concerns that the course, which is
being taught by a "former Muslim" and claims to be "based on Israeli
experience," will promote stereotypes and religious and ethnic profiling.
Among the course's advertised contents are non-terror-related topics such as:
Arab naming conventions, the five pillars of Islam, the "formative phases of
the Islamic religion," and the fast of Ramadan. The course is being taught by
a "former Muslim." Representatives from a number of law enforcement agencies
will attend the training.
SEE: Security Solutions International
SEE ALSO: Suicide Terror - Fire Fighters Response
Chief Wilson agreed to have Muslim officers attend the training and evaluate
the course for objectivity and balance.
"Linking any faith to violence and criminal activity creates the potential for
stereotyping and could lead to an increase in religious and ethnic profiling,"
said CAIR-WA President Arsalan Bukhari. "We urge Port of Seattle Police to
ensure that the course offers accurate and balanced information on Islam and
Bukhari said an incident in which apparently innocent travelers in the state
were profiled for their "Middle Eastern" appearance points to the need for
police training that deals with issues of profiling and bias.
SEE: FBI Says Men in Ferry Photo were Innocent Sightseers
He added that Muslims nationwide are concerned about the information law
enforcement authorities are receiving on the subject of Islam.
Last month, CAIR's chapter in Pennsylvania (CAIR-PA) called on police training
officials in that state to offer a Muslim perspective in a mandatory police
training class because of concerns that the class would present stereotypical
views of Islam and Muslims.
SEE: Penn. Muslims Seek 'Balance' in Police Training on Islam
Earlier this month, a spokesman for CAIR's Chicago office said an emergency
preparedness drill in Illinois, in which a fake "mosque" was stormed by law
enforcement authorities, sent the "wrong message" that all Islamic houses of
worship may be potential security threats. An official later apologized for
using the "mosque" in the drill.
SEE: IL Official Apologizes for Using Fake 'Mosque' in Drill
CAIR-WA representatives say they will continue to dialogue with the local law
enforcement community and to provide accurate information on Islam and Muslims
through on-going monthly Muslim-Sikh-Arab Advisory Council meetings.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and
chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.
CONTACT: CAIR-WA President Arsalan Bukhari, 206-931-3655, E-Mail:
email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper,
202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications
Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations
CAIR-WA President Arsalan Bukhari, +1-206-931-3655, firstname.lastname@example.org, CAIR
National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, +1-202-488-8787,
+1-202-744-7726, email@example.com, or CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina
Rubin, +1-202-488-8787, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wrong...Wrong...Wrong: Obama Lets Muslim Advisor Resign
Will anyone notice? Barack Obama's team just threw its key Muslim advisor under the bus.
Barack Obama needs to make a statement loudly, clearly, and with passion that he embraces Muslims as much as any other Americans of Christian, Buddhist, Jewish or other religious persuasions. It wouldn't hurt for him to embrace devout secularists like me for that matter.
But I'm irritated and saddened by news that Barack Obama's Muslim-outreach coordinator, Mazen Asbahi, has resigned "amid questions about his 'involvement' in an Islamic investment fund and various Islamic groups."
Let's tally up Obama's Muslim outreach record:
~ Obama campaign apparatchiks ask young Muslim women not to stand in photo with Obama because of head scarves (Obama campaign later apologizes).
~ Barack Obama gives AIPAC speech that manages to run to the right of President Bush and Israel Prime Minister Ohlmert in demanding that "Jerusalem must not be divided." (Obama later recants after the fact)
~ Barack Obama not only terminates Middle East advisor Robert Malley from his team because of Malley's views that Hamas should be engaged -- but his spokesman, Bill Burton, states that not only is Rob Malley no longer advising Obama "but will never advise Obama." That's running the bus over someone and then backing it up to make sure that Malley doesn't survive and has no chance in an Obama administration. I like to remind folks that Paul Volcker and Ted Sorensen signed the same letter Malley did but have thus far missed the campaign guillotine.
~ Barack Obama gives an inspirational speech to more than 200,000 Germans in Berlin calling for a "World Without Walls." But Obama is silent in Israel when it is the wall dividing Israelis and Palestinians that is becoming an increasingly worse and impactful global ulcer.
~ Barack Obama spends 30 plus hours in Israel and 45 minutes in Ramallah during his recent trip and meets many Iraelis who have been pro-settilement expansion, solidly violating international law and US policy. Some on Obama's advisory team turn a blind eye to Israel's expanding settlements and continue to be associated with and meet with settlement zealots -- but Obama keeps ALL of these people on his team.
~ Barack Obama accepts the resignation of a mainstream Arab-American lawyer from his advisory team because eight years ago, Mazen Asbahi served on a board "for a few weeks" that included a muslim fundamentalist imam from Illinois. Asbahi resigned from the board. . .eight years ago.
What? Wait? Obama has had a many years long relationship with Jeremiah Wright -- and sat on a board with William Ayers -- NEITHER of which I think are disqualifiers for Obama's candidacy... and yet Obama's political team and Obama himself did not demand from Asbahi that he stay on the team, stand his ground, and fight back against the vile right-wing hit on him and his credibility?!
I think that this is outrageous -- and those on the left who appreciate Obama and what he may mean for this country must become as tenaciously committed to what is right and what is good -- and fighting for that -- because those on the other side of these debates are trying to compel Obama to dilute himself.
Zalmay Khalilzad is an effective and popular MUSLIM Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations. We need more Muslims in our diplomatic corps. We need Muslims on the Supreme Court. We need more Muslims like Keith Ellison in the US Senate and House of Representatives.
Obama should say it. Convince the American public that he's not setting up a zero sum game between Muslims on one side and Christians and Jews on the other.
Obama is a Christian. I get that. I'm a secularist hard core -- but I won't stand by to watch more good people be flushed down the political drain because they are Muslims trying to work for a balanced and level playing field in America.
This resignation by Asbahi stinks -- and Obama and his team should immediately call him back and help him stand up to anti-Muslimism in America.
-- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note
Lynnwood man may become one of first Muslim presidential electors in U.S.
Native of Pakistan among those chosen by state Democratic Party
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Last updated August 6, 2008 12:11 p.m. PT
By GREGORY ROBERTS
If Democrat Barack Obama carries Washington state and the nation to win the White House in November, he won't become the first Muslim president of the United States.
That's because, despite Internet rumors, he's not a Muslim.
But Jeff Siddiqui is – and an Obama victory in the state and nation would give Siddiqui a small but possibly historic role in choosing the next president.
Siddiqui, a real estate agent who lives in Lynnwood, is one of 11 presidential electors designated by the state Democratic Party.
|Andy Rogers / P-I|
|"My basic message is that Muslims are no different from Christians ... Jews, anyone," says Jeff Siddiqui.|
If Obama wins Washington, those 11 – one for each of the nine congressional districts in the state, and one for each of the state's two seats in the U.S. Senate – will assemble to cast their ballots for Obama on Dec. 15, when the electors from each of the other states and the District of Columbia also will meet.
If Republican John McCain wins Washington, the state's 11 GOP electors will cast ballots instead.
Whoever gets the majority of the 538 electoral votes nationwide becomes president.
With Obama leading in the polls in Washington state, Siddiqui – along with Lesley Ahmed, a Democratic elector from Seattle who coverted to Islam in 1996 – are poised to join what is likely a limited group in the nation's history: Muslim presidential electors. For Siddiqui, his religion has played a key role in shaping his path to the Electoral College.
A native of Pakistan who gained U.S. citizenship in 1986, Siddiqui, 56, is a relatively high-profile representative of the Muslim community in and around Seattle, giving speeches at schools, churches and community organizations, writing Op-Ed pieces in newspapers and providing guest commentary on radio and TV. His mission is to counteract the image of Muslims as fanatical terrorists and extremists that, he believes, is propagated in the media, popular culture and even the government.
"My basic message is that Muslims are no different from Christians, atheists, Jews, anyone," he said last week. "We're human beings. We should be treated just the same."
Siddiqui never participated officially in the political system until this year, when – drawn partly by curiosity, and partly by his concerns about Muslim bashing and the war in Iraq – he showed up at his precinct's Democratic presidential caucus in February.
"I went there to cast my ballot initially" – for Obama, who, Siddiqui contends, was the only candidate in either party not engaged in demonizing Muslims. "I had no intention of being a delegate. And while I was there, I thought, 'This could be the first step toward making our opinions known.'
"I raised my hand to be a delegate, and the next thing I knew, I was a delegate."
That led to successive rounds of caucuses and ultimately to the state party convention in Spokane. There, the Democrats settled on their delegates to the national convention in Denver in August and also held votes to pick their presidential electors.
Elector was not a position Siddiqui had intended to seek, but again, he wound up doing just that.
"I stood up and said, 'I want to tell you: I will use every opportunity I can as an elector to bring attention to the hate and bigotry that are being promoted in this country, and to fight against it,' " he said. "To my surprise, they loved it, and they said, 'All right, you're an elector.' "
Siddiqui – whose given name is Jafar – grew up in a family headed by a military officer in Pakistan. He was taught by nuns in Catholic missionary schools – "I had to go to catechism every day and if I didn't, I'd get whacked with a cane, and they weren't gentle" – until seventh grade, when the government forbade Muslim children to attend Christian schools.
He came to the U.S. in the mid-1970s to earn a master's degree in engineering at the University of Washington.
While serving as executive director of the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students, a campus group that placed foreign students with host families during the students' first week in Seattle, he met a third-generation Washingtonian (and Christian) named Kathy who was on the organization's board. They recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and are raising two teen-agers.
Kathy Siddiqui is still a Christian; as for the children, Jeff Siddiqui hopes they'll choose Islam, but he knows enough not to force the issue.
Siddiqui recognizes that his role as an elector is strictly functional – electors in Washington state are legally pledged to support their party's candidate, and cannot vote otherwise – but he is not oblivious to its wider implications.
"You're entering history when you're an elector," he said.
P-I reporter Gregory Roberts can be reached at 206-448-8022 or email@example.com.
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