Muslim

If you can’t ban Muslims . . . ban their computers

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Dubai carrier Emirates is one of 10 airlines from predominantly Muslim countries affected by the new computer ban. (photo: Marwan Naamani / AFP)

“A Muslim ban by a thousand cuts.”

March 21, 2017

In a scathing opinion written by Judge Derrick K. Watson, the U.S. District Court in Honolulu blocked the Administration’s second travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries. (New York Times)

“The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed. . . . It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam.”

Now, the Administration is prohibiting passengers from eight Muslim-majority countries from carrying computers, tablets, and cameras onboard U.S.-bound flights. (The Washington PostIndependent)

“Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration acting administrator Huban Gowadia have determined it is necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last-point-of-departure airports to the United States.”

This despite the U.K. having tried and abandoned a similar ban in 2006, and the utility of such an approach being seriously questioned being raised by security experts. (Independent, The Guardian)

“From a technological perspective, nothing has changed between the last dozen years and today. That is, there are no new technological breakthroughs that make this threat any more serious today. And there is certainly nothing technological that would limit this newfound threat to a handful of Middle Eastern airlines.”

“What appears to be new is this latest overreaction — it appears to be a Muslim ban by a thousand cuts.”

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I Am a Muslim — Ask Me Anything

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Faiez Ahmad joins two of his friends in Westlake Park. About 30 or 40 people stopped by to speak to them, including people attending a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. (photo: Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

Locals joined the national effort on “Meet a Muslim Day” to dispel myths about Islam.

By Tyrone Beason / The Seattle Times
March 11, 2017


“I’m here to say that our religion is for peace. Islam is for peace . . . Most people don’t care about religion. They care about peace.”
— Ahmad Bilal


Ahmad Bilal, Faiez Ahmad and Luqman Munir couldn’t have been better positioned to talk about being Muslims than the cultural crossroads of Fourth Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle on Saturday.

The trio, all members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, took part in the organization’s “Meet a Muslim Day,” an effort in cities around the country to dispel myths about Islam and put a human face on a population that’s been the subject of stereotypes, public suspicion and in extreme cases, threats and violence.

For three hours on a showery Saturday, the men stood among the throngs of tourists and St. Patrick’s Day parade spectators at a corner of Fourth and Pine with a sign that read, “I am a Muslim: Ask me anything.”

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Crossing the Border, Trump Style

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A demonstrator protests Trump’s travel ban at Los Angeles international airport, Feb 4, 2017. (photo: Ringo Chiu / Reuters)

We offer three vignettes of travelling to the U.S. in recent days.


1.  The son of Muhammed Ali is detained at Ft. Lauderdale

“Where did you get your name from?”

“Are you Muslim?”

These were the questions asked of Muhammad Ali Jr. at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport on February 7, before being detained for “several hours” by immigration and customs officials. Yes, that’s Muhammad Ali Jr., as in the son of the Champ, one of the greatest athletes and humanitarians to ever walk the earth. That’s Muhammad Ali Jr., as in the son of a man whose funeral in June was televised across the nation; a man who was lionized by political leaders who are now turning a blind eye to — or actively defending — what’s happening to this country. That’s Muhammad Ali Jr., detained for hours in the country of his birth, 20 minutes from his house because of those two questions: “Where did you get your name from?” and “Are you Muslim?” He answered, “My dad was the heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali,” and, “Yes, I certainly am.”

They didn’t believe his answer to the first question, and could not abide the answer to the second.

[Read the full article here . . . ]


2.  A British schoolteacher is denied entry on a trip with his schoolchildren

A British Muslim schoolteacher travelling to New York last week as a member of a school party from south Wales was denied entry to the United States.

Juhel Miah and a group of children and other teachers were about to take off from Iceland on 16 February on their way to the U.S. when he was removed from the plane at Reykjavik. The previous week, on the 10 February, a U.S. appeals court had upheld a decision to suspend Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily banned entry to the country from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The trip proceeded as planned but pupils and colleagues were left shocked and distressed after the maths teacher, a British citizen who had valid visa documentation, was escorted from the aircraft by security personnel.

[Read the full article here . . . ]


3.  A 70-year-old Australian children’s book author is interrogated on her 117th trip to the U.S.

The Australian children’s book author Mem Fox has suggested she might never return to the U.S. after she was detained and insulted by border control agents at Los Angeles airport.

Fox, who is famous worldwide for her best-selling books including Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Possum Magic, was en route to a conference in Milwaukee earlier this month when she was stopped.

She told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she was questioned by border agents for two hours in front of a room full of people — an experience that left her feeling like she had been physically assaulted.

[Read the full article here . . . ]

Children Protesting Trump’s Immigration Ban

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Meryem Yildirim, 7, left, sitting on the shoulders of her father, Fatih, and Adin Bendat-Appell, 9, sitting on the shoulders of his father, Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Apell, protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration and refugee order at O’Hare International Airport, Jan 30, 2017. (photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)

The story behind the viral photo of Muslim and Jewish children protesting at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

By Vikki Ortiz Healy / Chicago Tribune
February 1, 2017


“Our tradition is not ambiguous about remembering our history for the sake of acting out in this world today.”
— Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Apell


A Muslim and a Jewish father had never met before bringing their children to O’Hare International Airport Monday to join in a protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. But after a photograph showing their son and daughter interacting went viral, they decided to bring their families together next week for dinner to celebrate peace.

As of midday Tuesday, the photograph taken by Chicago Tribune photographer Nuccio DiNuzzo and shared on Twitter by @ChiTribPhoto had been retweeted by other Twitter users more than 16,000 times. The two fathers said they have fielded calls from friends, acquaintances and national news outlets wanting to hear their story.

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Film: The Sultan and the Saint, A Story of Muslim-Christian Peacemaking

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Seattle premier of film on Muslim-Christian peacemaking narrated by Jeremy Irons, with opening remarks by the producer.

Date: Saturday, February 25, 2017
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Cinemark Theater Lincoln Square
700 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA  98004
Information: Event website

During the Crusades, Saint Francis of Assisi risked his life by walking across enemy lines to meet the Sultan of Egypt, the Muslim ruler Al-Malik al-Kamil. This remarkable encounter, and the commitment to peace of the two men behind it, sucked the venom out of the Crusades and changed the relationship between Muslims and Christians for the better.

Featuring dramatic reenactments and renowned scholarship, this amazing story is brought to life. Scholars interviewed include Michael Cusato (St. Bonaventure University), Sr. Kathy Warren (Sisters of St. Francis), Suleiman Mourad (Smith College), Homayra Ziad, Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, Paul Moses (The Saint and the Sultan), and others.

Join us for this film premiere to learn about the remarkable spiritual exchange between the Sultan and the Saint, and the great risks they took for peace.

Trump Fires Acting Attorney General

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President Trump defended his executive order on Twitter, writing that there is “nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country.” (photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post)

President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Monday night, after Yates ordered Justice Department lawyers Monday not to defend his immigration ban.

By Matt Zapotosky, Sari Horwitz and Mark Berman / The Washington Post
January 30, 2017


Yates felt she was in an “impossible situation” and had been struggling with what to do about a measure she did not consider lawful. A Justice official confirmed over the weekend that the department’s office of legal counsel had been asked to review the measure to determine if it was “on its face lawful and properly drafted.”


President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Monday night, after Yates ordered Justice Department lawyers Monday not to defend his immigration order temporarily banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world.

In a press release, the White House said Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”

The White House has named Dana Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as acting attorney general. Boente told The Washington Post that he will agree to enforce the immigration order.

Earlier on Monday, Yates ordered Justice Department not to defend President Trump’s immigration order temporarily banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world, declaring in a memo that she is not convinced the order is lawful.

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Acting Attorney General Orders Justice Dept. Not to Defend Refugee Ban

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Sally Q. Yates, the acting attorney general, during a news conference in June. (photo: Pete Marovich / Getty Images)

Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates ordered the Justice Department on Monday not to defend President Trump’s executive order on immigration in court.

By Matt Apuzzo, Eric Lichtblau and Michael D. Shear / The New York Times
January 30, 2017


“I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.”


Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, ordered the Justice Department on Monday not to defend President Trump’s executive order on immigration in court.

“I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” Ms. Yates wrote in a letter to Justice Department lawyers. “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.”

The decision is largely symbolic — Mr. Trump’s nominee to be attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions, is likely to be confirmed soon — but it highlights the deep divide at the Justice Department and elsewhere in the government over Mr. Trump’s order.

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Border Agents Defy Courts on Trump Travel Ban

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(photo: Bryan R. Smith / AFP)

Congressman Don Beyer says, “We have a constitutional crisis” over refusal to release travellers from Muslim-majority countries after judge grants temporary stay.

By Edward Helmore and Alan Yuhas / The Guardian
January 30, 2017


“We continue to face border patrol’s noncompliance and chaos at airports around the country,” said Marielena Hincapie, director of the National Immigration Law Center. Officials, she said, were “Kafkaesque” in their confused responses, adding that Trump’s order “has already caused irrevocable harm, it has already caused chaos.”


Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents defied the orders of federal judges regarding Donald Trump’s travel bans on Sunday, according to members of Congress and attorneys who rallied protests around the country in support of detained refugees and travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

On Sunday afternoon, four Democratic members of the House of Representatives arrived at Dulles airport in Virginia on word that people had been detained and denied access to lawyers.

“We have a constitutional crisis today,” representative Don Beyer wrote on Twitter. “Four members of Congress asked CBP officials to enforce a federal court order and were turned away.”

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Muslim and Jewish Women Join Together

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Women dance during a workshop at a Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom conference at Drew University in Madison, N.J. (photo: Yana Paskova / The New York Times)

Both Feeling Threatened, American Muslims and Jews Join Hands

By Laurie Goodstein / The New York Times
December 5, 2016


“If Muslims have to register, we’re all going to register . . . Jews know what it means to be identified and tagged, to be registered and pulled aside. It evokes very deep emotions in the Jewish community. . . . All of us have heard the story of the Danish king who said if his country’s Jews had to wear a gold star, all of Denmark would, too.”


Jolted into action by a wave of hate crimes that followed the election victory of Donald J. Trump, American Muslims and Jews are banding together in a surprising new alliance.

They are putting aside for now their divisions over Israel to join forces to resist whatever may come next. New groups are forming, and interfaith coalitions that already existed say interest is increasing.

Vaseem Firdaus, a Muslim who has lived in the United States for 42 years, spent Friday night at a Shabbat dinner for members of a women’s group called the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, in a home here filled with Jewish art and ritual objects.

Until Mr. Trump was elected president, Ms. Firdaus, who is 56 and a manufacturing manager at Exxon Mobil, felt secure living as a Muslim in America. She has a daughter who is a doctor and a son who is an engineer, and she recently traveled to Tampa with her husband looking to buy a vacation home. But Mr. Trump’s victory has shaken her sense of comfort and security.

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Interfaith Leaders Turn Conflict Into Trust

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Photo: Daniel Acker / The New York Times

By David Bornstein / The New York Times
November 29, 2016


Democracy is not just a place where you elect representatives; it’s a society where you can make personal convictions public. And diversity isn’t just the things we like. Diversity is also the things you don’t like. . . . What are ways in which I can understand my fellow citizens? What qualities do they possess that I would admire? And what are fundamental things that we can work on together?


This month, the F.B.I. reported that hate crimes against Muslims in 2015 reached their highest level since 2001. In New York City this year, hate crimes are tracking one-third higher than last year; against Muslims they have more than doubled.

The election of Donald J. Trump has highlighted religious tensions in America, particularly with Trump’s proposals to bar Muslims from entering the country and to create a registry of Muslims living in the United States. But these tensions did not begin with Trump. In America, virtually every form of faith or belief has at some point suffered unfavorable reception by others; the victims include Roman Catholics, Mormons, evangelical Christians, Jews and atheists, alongside Muslims.

Four years ago, I reported on the Interfaith Youth Core, which trains leaders to build relationships and respect between diverse faith communities. The work has expanded considerably. The organization now has more than 350 active campuses in its network, and more than 1,000 colleges have used its resources. This year its founder, Eboo Patel, explained in a book, Interfaith Leadership, what this type of leadership entails and why he considers it vital in today’s world. Patel, who is Muslim, recently spoke with me about democracy, the responsibilities of citizens, and his fears and hopes after this year’s election.

[Continue reading here . . . ]