CAIR-NY Seeks Stepped-Up Protection for Mosques After ‘Massacre’ Threat Targeting Masjid Manhattan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

CAIR-NY Seeks Stepped-Up Protection for Mosques After ‘Massacre’ Threat Targeting Masjid Manhattan

(NEW York, NY, 6/22/2017) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called for increased police protection for New York mosques following an alleged threat against a Manhattan house of worship. 

According to police, a letter received today by Masjid Manhattan threatened a massacre “on a scale never seen before.”  The NYPD is currently investigating the threat, which appears to have been sent from London.

SEE: City Mosque Receives Letter Threatening a Massive Massacre
http://nypost.com/2017/06/22/city-mosque-receives-letter-threatening-a-massive-massacre/

SEE: Manhattan Mosque Receives Massacre Threat from London
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/manhattan-mosque-receives-massacre-threat-london-article-1.3268548 

“We’re outraged that Muslim New Yorkers continue to be targeted for our faith,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “As the end of Ramadan approaches, and Muslims congregate at mosques and public spaces across our state, we call on law enforcement to increase protection at community gatherings and Islamic centers.”

“For too long, we’ve ignored the terrorist threat from anti-Muslim extremists,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn. “We need our elected officials and law enforcement authorities to take seriously the very real threats and violence faced by the Muslim community.”

This is the latest in a series of incidents that have targeted Muslim New Yorkers and their mosques. Police are investigating last week’s brutal attack on a Bronx Muslim man as a possible hate crime.

SEE: Victim of Bronx Beating Says He Was Targeted For Being Muslim
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2017/06/19/bronx-muslim-attack/

Earlier this month, a Bronx Mosque was allegedly shot with pellet gun, reportedly hitting a Muslim man in the neck and shattering a window.

SEE: Bronx Mosque Targeted Three Times by Pellet Gun Shooter
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/bronx-mosque-targeted-times-pellet-gun-shooter-article-1.3241704

CAIR is also asking American Muslims and Islamic institutions to take extra security precautions – particularly at end-of-Ramadan activities -- and is offering Muslim community leaders free copies of its booklet, "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety."

A hard copy of the booklet may be requested through CAIR's website at: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html   

It may also be viewed at: http://www.cair.com/images/publications/CAIR_Mosque_Safety_Guide.pdf 

Earlier this week, CAIR national office called on Muslim communities nationwide to step up security measures for end-of-Ramadan activities following a terror attack on Muslims outside a mosque in London, the murder of a Muslim teen near a Virginia mosque and the murder of two men who defended a Muslim being harassed in Oregon.

SEE: CAIR Asks Muslim Community to Step Up Security Measures for End-of-Ramadan Activities After Recent Attacks

http://www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/14417-cair-security-alert-cair-asks-muslim-community-to-step-up-security-measures-for-end-of-ramadan-activities-after-recent-attacks.html 

Since the beginning of the year, CAIR has called for investigations of possible bias motives for dozens of other incidents targeting mosques in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Texas, and a number of other states. By comparison, in the January-March period in 2016, CAIR recorded 19 such incidents.

CAIR Seeks Stepped-Up Protection for Colorado Mosques Following Phone Threat
http://www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/14388-cair-seeks-stepped-up-protection-for-colorado-mosques-following-phone-threat.html

CAIR-NY recently released a report showing a 560 percent increase in 2016 anti-Muslim incidents in New York compared to the previous year. The same report showed that more than half of 2016 anti-Muslim hate crimes in New York occurred in the last 7 and a half weeks of the year, following Donald Trump’s election as President. 

SEE: Press Release: Civil Rights Report 2017
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2017/5/10/press-release-civil-rights-report-2017

Individuals in New York are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
 
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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Know the Law: Social Media Harassment

By Miko Zeldes-Roth and Albert Fox Cahn, Esq.

Online harassment is a serious concern for Muslim Americans, with social media threats on the rise. Regrettably, it can be difficult to prosecute such threats and harassment without raising significant First Amendment concerns. Currently, there are several New York State laws that can punish online harassment, but courts and lawmakers must continue to balance public safety against First Amendment free expressions rights.

 The First Amendment generally protects speech, including social media content and other novel forms of communication, but these protections are not without their limits.  Generally, online communication will only be illegal if a specific threat is made. These threats can be posted on a public Facebook post, in a private message, or using any other form of communication. To amount to a "true threat," the message must be so explicit that it can only be interpreted as a threat towards the recipient or their property.[1] If the statement is ambiguous, or if there is any other reasonable interpretation of the content, it will likely not be prosecutable as a “true threat.”[2]

“True threats” are one important exception to the First Amendment’s protection of speech, but it’s not the only one. Non-threatening online communication can be criminal if it alarms the recipient and has no legitimate purpose.[3] For instance, if you have been the target of repeated, unwanted, and disturbing messages (such as Facebook messages), then such activity may qualify as online harassment (even if there is no direct threat made against you).

These carve-outs may seem simple, but applying them is rarely straightforward. In recent years, we’ve seen courts repeatedly struggle to draw the line between legitimate speech and threats of violence, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Elonis v. United States. In Elonis, the Court found that social media content only constitutes a threat if it is actually intended to be threatening.[4]  The mere fact that the recipient of such communications found it to be threatening is not enough, since some recipients may be hypersensitive in how they interpret the statements that are directed at them. Prosecutors must not only prove that the recipient felt threatened, they must also prove the perpetrator intended the communication to have that impact.

 True threats and repeatedly harassment are generally a crime, but in certain cases such conduct is punished much more severely.  Online harassment premised on a target's protected characteristic (e.g. race, religion, national origin, etc.) may also face heightened punishment under New York State law as a hate crime.[5] These laws can provide additional protections to all minority groups, including Muslim Americans. Residents of New York City are also protected under the City's Human Rights Law. This law protects against identity-based discrimination and harassment.[6] Hate crime survivors can pursue and an administrative claim before the NYC Human Rights Commission or sue in New York State Supreme Court.[7]

Even as the definition of online harassment continues to develop, certain forms of malicious online activity remain clear-cut criminal offenses. If you or a loved one has been the recipient of intimidating or alarming messages that you view as threatening, you should contact 911 or reach out to CAIR-NY at 646-666-7599.

 

[1] People v. Orr, 2015 NY Slip Op 50568(U), 47 Misc. 3d 1213(A), 15 N.Y.S.3d 713 (Crim Ct.
Apr. 22, 2015); see also Virginia v. Black, 538 U.S. 343, 359 (2003).

[2] People v Grammatico, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1, 2017 NY Slip Op 50000(U), 54 Misc. 3d 1203(A)
(N.Y. J. Ct. 2017).

[3] Harassment in the Second Degree (N.Y. Penal Law § 240.26)

[4] [1] Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech, "Elonis v. United States," Oyez, https://www.oyez.org/cases/2014/13-983 (accessed June 6, 2017).

[5] N.Y. Penal Law § 485.10

[6] “The Law.” New York City Commission on Human Rights, accessed June 12, 2017. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/law/the-law.page

[7] “Enforcement.” New York City Commission on Human Rights, accessed June 12, 2017. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/enforcement/enforcement.page

Disclaimer:  The foregoing is provided solely for educational purposes; it is not intended to provide legal advice.  If you have any questions about social media harassments or any other legal matter, please contact a licensed attorney.

Hundreds Turn Out for CAIR-NY, NYIC ‘New York City Loves Muslims’ Rally, Show Positive Alternative to Anti-Islam Event

For Immediate Release
(NEW YORK, NY, 6/10/17) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) and the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) today partnered with other leading civil rights groups and grassroots activists to rally in support of the Muslim community, showcasing a pluralistic alternative to the white supremacist and Islamophobic  "March Against Sharia" in Foley Square.  The anti-hate rally and march, which drew almost 500 attendees according to organizers, ended peacefully without any disruptions by, or interaction with, ACT for America participants.

Source: @Melissabenderphoto

Source: @Melissabenderphoto

Source: CAIR-NY

Source: CAIR-NY


CAIR: June 10 Anti-Islam Hate Rallies Show Convergence of White Supremacism, Islamophobia
https://www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/14389-cair-june-10-anti-islam-hate-rallies-show-convergence-of-white-supremacism-islamophobia.html  

New York City Loves Muslims Rally – Main Page
https://www.facebook.com/events/165185194018432/

New York City Loves Muslims Rally Contingent – Stand Against Islamophobia with the NYC MJS
https://www.facebook.com/events/1198050926991384/  
 
ACT for America – March Against Sharia
http://www.actforamerica.org/rally

“We were gratified to see hundreds of participants support our message of solidarity and support for the Muslim community,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director, Albert Cahn. “We are happy that our rally concluded without any arrests or confrontations, from beginning to end a call for peaceful, non-violent, solidarity.  We’re saddened to learn that there may have been violence and or injuries at separate, unaffiliated rallies.”

“The moral spirit of our nation has always been anchored by love of community, diversity, and inclusion, ” said New York City Loves Muslims co-founder, Mohammed Naeem. “In many small strokes, it is this love that eventually fills the canvas of our democracy.”

Today’s speakers included:

Mohammed Naeem, New York Loves Muslims
Jane Shlimovich, New York Loves Muslims
Afaf Nasher, Council on American Islamic Relations, New York
Albert Cahn, Council on American Islamic Relations, New York
Rev. Chloe Breyer, Interfaith Center New York
Scott Stringer, New York City Comptroller
Talia Baurer, Jewish Social Justice Contingent
Sunita Viswanath, Sadhana
Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
Anika Ferdoush, Youth Activist
Rabbi Barrat Ellman, Fordham University
Aber Kawas, Arab-American Association of New York
Zena & Michelle, Muslim Jewish Solidarity Committee
Carlene Pinto, New York Immigration Coalition
 
CAIR-NY is calling upon Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to the organization. Contact us by calling (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/
 
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
 
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua. 
 
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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher, 917-669-4006, anasher@cair.com; CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn, 571-766-6273, acahn@cair.com

 

 

 

CAIR-NY Condemns Racist Arson Attack on Home of African-American Family

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(NEW YORK, N.Y., 5/16/2017) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today condemned an allegedly bias-motivated arson attack on the home of an African-American family in upstate New York.

On Sunday night, authorities were alerted to a fire at an African-American family’s home in Schodack, New York. Law enforcement had found a swastika and racial slurs spray-painted on the front of the garage before it was destroyed. Though the home was also damaged by the fire, it remained largely unharmed. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

SEE: Black family's garage torched, painted with racist graffiti in Schodack, police say
http://www.timesunion.com/7dayarchive/article/Schodack-police-probe-garage-fire-graffiti-as-11147194.php

SEE: Schodack Incident Investigated as Hate Crime
http://www.twcnews.com/nys/capital-region/crime/2017/05/15/schodack-incident-investigated-as-hate-crime.html

“Too often we have seen how bais-incidents affect families and destroy lives of different targeted groups while going largely unnoticed,” said Afaf Nasher, Executive Director for CAIR-NY. “We are glad that in this instance the family is safe, and that authorities are investigating this as a hate crime. This proactive approach by law enforcement is a step in the right direction for the safety of this family, and for all New Yorkers.”       

“All New York police departments must make sure that hate crimes are investigated and punished to the full extent of the law,” said Albert Cahn, Legal Director for CAIR-NY. “We must do more as a state to secure that long-unfilled promise that no New Yorker should ever face violence because of their race or faith.”

CAIR-NY called on the Erie County Sheriff's Office Fire Investigation Unit last week to step-up its investigation of a “suspicious” fire that damaged a building owned by the Lackawanna Islamic Mosque of Lackawanna, N.Y., injuring seven.

SEE: CAIR-NY Urges Stepped-Up Probe of 'Suspicious' Fire at Mosque-Owned Building Housing New Immigrants
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2017/5/11/cair-ny-urges-stepped-up-probe-of-suspicious-fire-at-mosque-owned-building-housing-new-immigrants

Earlier this week, CAIR condemned recent racist incidents in Idaho and Virginia as part of the “rising tide of bigotry in our nation.”

SEE: CAIR Condemns Racist Incidents in Idaho, Virginia as Part of ‘Rising Tide of Bigotry’
https://www.cair.com/press-center/14330-cair-condemns-racist-incidents-in-idaho-virginia-as-part-of-rising-tide-of-bigotry.html

In CAIR’s recently released 2017 Civil Rights Report, “The Empowerment of Hate,” the civil rights group noted a nationwide spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes, which rose more than 580 percent from 2014-2016. Additionally, attacks on Muslim-owned property, including vandalism and arson, increased nearly eight-fold from 2014-2016. The situation is even more extreme in New York State, where anti-Muslim hate incidents increased more than 560 percent in just 2016.

SEE: CAIR Civil Rights Report 2017
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2017/5/10/press-release-civil-rights-report-2017
SEE: “The Empowerment of Hate” Civil Rights Report
http://islamophobia.org/15-reports/188-the-empowerment-of-hate.html
Video: Press Conference: CAIR-NY Civil Rights Report 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlhYaJhGyi8

Community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
 
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.  
 

CAIR-NY Urges Stepped-Up Probe of 'Suspicious' Fire at Mosque-Owned Building Housing New Immigrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAIR-NY Urges Stepped-Up Probe of 'Suspicious' Fire at Mosque-Owned Building Housing New Immigrants

 
(NEW YORK, N.Y., 5/11/2017) -- The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today called on the Erie County Sheriff's Office Fire Investigation Unit to step-up its investigation of a “suspicious” fire that damaged a building owned by the Lackawanna Islamic Mosque of Lackawanna, N.Y., injuring seven.
 
Authorities, who have confirmed an accelerant was used in the April 22 fire, have yet to classify the blaze as arson. The incident was the second “suspicious” fire set at the building in April alone.
                                                                                                                    
The four-unit housing block was occupied by several families, many of whom were newly arrived immigrants. Three victims remain hospitalized, including a 3-year-old boy. Friends, family and community members are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the possible arsonist(s). CAIR-NY has reached out to mosque leaders and other local Muslim community leaders about the incident.
 
SEE: Seven Hurt in Lackawanna Apartment Fire
http://www.wgrz.com/news/seven-hurt-in-lackawanna-apartment-fire/433314975

$10,000 Reward to Be Offered for Info on Suspicious Fire That Hurt 7 in Lackawanna
http://buffalonews.com/2017/05/11/10000-reward-expected-suspicious-fire-immigrant-housing-lackawanna/
 
“It is critical that authorities use every resource available to apprehend and prosecute anyone responsible for this tragedy,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director, Afaf Nasher. “Our prayers are with those injured in the fire and with their loved ones.”        

“We can’t ignore the fact that this tragedy comes in the wake of attacks on American Muslims, immigrants and other minority groups across America,” said Albert Cahn, CAIR-NY Legal Director. “It is unacceptable that today, nearly three weeks later, that county officials have still not made an arson determination or contacted mosque officials.”

SEE: Woman in coma, five others remain hospitalized after fire in Lackawanna
http://buffalonews.com/2017/04/24/woman-coma-six-still-hospitalized-suspicious-fire-lackawanna-apartment-building/

Source: Accelerant found at Lackawanna fire site
http://www.wgrz.com/news/local/source-accelerant-found-at-lackawanna-fire-site/438834993
 
The fire follows a surge in anti-Muslim incidents across the United States.
 
In CAIR’s recently released 2017 Civil Rights Report, “The Empowerment of Hate,” the civil rights group noted a nationwide spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes, which rose more than 580 percent from 2014-2016. Additionally, attacks on Muslim-owned property, including vandalism and arson, increased nearly eight-fold from 2014-2016. The situation is even more extreme in New York State, where anti-Muslim hate incidents increased more than 560 percent in just 2016.
 
SEE CAIR Civil Rights Report 2017
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2017/5/10/press-release-civil-rights-report-2017

“The Empowerment of Hate” Civil Rights Report
http://islamophobia.org/15-reports/188-the-empowerment-of-hate.html

Video: Press Conference: CAIR-NY Civil Rights Report 2017
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlhYaJhGyi8
 
Muslim community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/
 
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
 
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.  
 
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Press Release: Civil Rights Report 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(New York, N.Y., 5/9/2017) --
 The Council on American-Islamic Relations of New York (CAIR-NY), announced the release of “The Empowerment of Hate” 2017 CAIR Civil Rights Report detailing a more than 50 percent nationwide increase in anti-Muslim biased incidents in 2016 over the previous year. This spike in anti-Muslim incidents was accompanied by a 44 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes during the same period.

CAIR’s new report also notes that from 2014 to 2016, anti-Muslim bias incidents jumped 65 percent. [NOTE: The report focuses primarily on 2016, but also contains data on cases documented by CAIR during the 2014-2016 period.]

The report showed an even sharper increase in reports for New York State, with anti-Muslim incidents rising 560% in 2016 alone.  The report also showed that more than half of 2016 anti-Muslim hate crimes in New York took place in just the 7 and a half weeks following the Presidential election.  Hate crimes also accounted for nearly 30% of all anti-Muslim incidents, more than double the national average.

SEE: U.S. Muslim Group Reports Sharp Rise in Anti-Muslim Incidents Across U.S. in 2016 (Reuters)
http://www.newsweek.com/trump-donald-trump-islamophobia-islam-605680  

SEE: The Empowerment of Hate
http://islamophobia.org/15-reports/188-the-empowerment-of-hate.html

Video: CAIR-NY News Conference in New York Announcing Release of ‘The Empowerment of Hate’
https://www.facebook.com/CAIRNewYork/videos/1303444306418253/

Video: CAIR News Conference in Washington, D.C., Announcing Release of ‘The Empowerment of Hate’
https://www.facebook.com/CAIRNational/videos/10154768954452695/

“It is time for the Trump administration to seriously address the growing anti-minority sentiment in our nation, prompted at least in part by his toxic campaign rhetoric, the appointment of Islamophobes to policy-making posts and the introduction of Islamophobic policies such as the ‘Muslim ban,’” said Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, co-author of the report.

The most frequent types of incidents documented by CAIR in 2016 involved harassment, the FBI, employment issues, hate crimes, and denials of religious accommodations:

  • Harassment, a non-violent or non-threatening bias incident accounted for 18 percent of the total number of incidents.
  • Incidents during which the complainant was questioned by FBI employees or otherwise appeared to be inappropriately targeted by that agency comprised 15 percent of cases, making this the second largest category.
  • Employment issues - including denial of work, being passed over for promotion, or harassment by a supervisor or other senior staff - was the third largest category, accounting for 13 percent of the total.
  • Hate crimes placed fourth, accounting for 12 percent of the cases CAIR documented.

The most prevalent trigger of an anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2016 was the victim’s ethnicity or national origin, accounting for 35 percent of the total. Sixteen percent of incidents occurred as a result of women wearing a headscarf. Other Muslim-related activities - events such as rallies, community picnics, or a day at the state capitol visiting legislators organized primarily for Muslims - constituted an additional 11 percent.

The report data set is drawn primarily from the intakes CAIR conducts each year. With each case, civil rights and legal staff seek to ensure the highest possible level of accuracy.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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Edit: An earlier copy of this release mistakenly noted that there was a 660% increase in anti-Muslim incidents.

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: CAIR-NY's anti-bullying commitment

Today is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. One huge area affecting the youth in our communities is bullying. On this day, we hope to spread awareness and reaffirm our commitment to combat this growing problem.

The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding noted that 42 percent of Muslims with children in school report that their children are being bullied. CAIR California reported 55 percent of Muslim children are bullied on the basis of their faith.

It is not just Muslim children who are experiencing high rates of bullying. CEPTA, a health clinic based in Atlanta, reported that Latinx youth are being bullied at an increased rate since the presidential elections in November 2016.

Bullying is painful. We have heard everything from verbal abuse and intimidation to appalling accounts of physical violence including broken limbs and hijabs being ripping off. Latino children as young as five years old have been verbally abused by their peers being told to “go back to Mexico.” Others are surrounded by their peers who chant “Build a wall.”

The youth face the brunt of many of the attacks that our communities face, but with less experience, less knowledge, and fewer tools. These young victims of bullying are also more likely to face a range of mental health issues – including depression, poor school performance, and increased suicide risk – because of their experience.

On this day and every day, we all mustreaffirm our commitment to our children. We must work harder to empower them to speak up when they feel unsafe. We must commit to creating safe spaces for them. We must provide them the tools and resources to work through the issues they face as results of their trauma. It is on us to help them, and we encourage everyone to learn and assist as much as they can.

If your child or children have been subject to discrimination, hate, harassment, physical violence, or any kind of abuse or intimidation, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 646-665-7599.

If you would like to learn more about how to make our communities safer for our kids, request an anti-bullying workshop through our website at http://www.cair-ny.org/event-request/ .

‘Muslim Advocacy Day’

CAIR-NY, Muslim Community Leaders Meet with Lawmakers on ‘Muslim Advocacy Day’

FOR IMMEDEATE RELEASE

(NEW YORK, NY, 04/28/17) -- The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) and Muslim Leaders from across New York state held dozens of advocacy meetings earlier this week with elected officials and their staff at the state Capitol in Albany as part of “Muslim Advocacy Day 2017.”

The community leaders advocated on two sweeping laws in effort to promote just, equitable and progressive policies in New York. If enacted, these laws would prevent New York’s participation in a so-called “Muslim registry,” prevent local law enforcement cooperation with immigration enforcement, and protect electronic communications (such as emails and social media) from warrantless surveillance.

1. S. 4075a (Support) – The New York State Liberty Act would stop state and local agencies from assisting the federal government in establishing a database or registry based on religion, race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin.  The act would also prevent local law enforcement cooperation with U.S. I.C.E. immigration enforcement.

2. A. 1895 (Support) – The New York State Electronic Communications Privacy Act would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant issued by a judge before they are legally allowed to track cellular devices, read emails and/or text messages, or access any other electronic documents.

CAIR-NY arranged for Hafiz Badar Usmani, Imam of Masjid AlNoor in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., to give an invocation to the New York State Assembly and CAIR-NY received a proclamation from the assembly expressing support for the organization’s civil rights work.

"Muslim Advocacy Day provides our community with a platform to build relationships with their legislators and to advocate for issues that positively shape our local communities,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “The growing success of Muslim Advocacy Day illustrates that New York Muslims are growing their political muscle and helping influence state politics for a more inclusive, tolerant and just society."

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

CAIR-NY Testifies on NYC Council Privacy Legislation.

CAIR-NY's Legal Director, Albert Cahn, testified before the NYC Council, addressing two privacy measures that would potentially protect immigrant crime victims.  Intros 1588 and 1557 would expand on New York's existing sanctuary city policies, which police officers from asking crime victims about their immigration status.  Read the full testimony here.

CAIR-NY Condemns Racially and Religiously Motivated Attack on Sikh Man in the Bronx 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(NEW YORK, NY, 4/18/17) -- The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned the attack on a Sikh man in the Bronx as a suspected hate crime.

According to police, Harkirat Singh, a 25-year-old Sikh man and yellow cab driver, was attacked by one of his passengers during a trip from Madison Square Garden to the Bronx. The passengers reportedly called Singh “Ali Baba” (a deragatory term referncing Arab and South Asian individuals), swore at him, refused to pay the cab fare, and attempted to break the cab meter and partition. While fleeing the police, the assailant ripped Singh's turban from his head. The NYPD are investigating the assault as a possible hate crime.
SEE: NYC Sikh Taxi Driver Assaulted, Turban Ripped Off Head
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/nyc-sikh-taxi-driver-assaulted-turban-ripped-head-article-1.3066567  

"As brothers and sisters facing increased racially and religiously motivated attacks, this reprehensible attack against Mr. Singh resonates strongly with our community," said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. "CAIR-NY extends its empathy and support to Mr. Singh and the Sikh community."

“No New Yorker should ever face violence because of his or her faith,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn. “We are a city united by our diversity. Any attack motivated by religious bigotry is an attack on all New Yorkers and the values we hold dear.”

Recently, several anti-Sikh attacks received national attention. Earlier this year, in Kent Washington, a Sikh man was accosted by another man in his driveway, told to “go back to his country”, and was shot in the arm. Local authorities are looking into the attack as a possible hate crime.
SEE: Sikh Man's Shooting in Washington Investigated As Hate Crime
http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/05/us/washington-sikh-shooting/

There has been an unprecedented spike in hate rhetoric and bias-motivated incidents targeting Sikhs, American Muslims and other minorities since the election of President Trump.

Earlier this month, the NYPD noted that there has been a 100 percent increase in hate crimes. CAIR-NY believes that even this figure is a gross underestimation due to under-reporting.
SEE: NYPD Notes a 100 Percent Increase in Hate Crimes
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2017/4/4/0es46o6xrt0xam7z9m01oz5316okpw

CAIR and the American Muslim community have in the past expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities in New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and other states following acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.

Individuals in New York are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

EXCLUSIVE: Sikh taxi driver assaulted, turban stolen by drunken passenger in the Bronx

A drunken passenger roughed up a Sikh cabbie and snatched the turban off his head in an assault the NYPD is investigating as a possible hate crime.

Harkirat Singh, 25, said the theft of his religious garb was the culmination of a scary encounter early Sunday with a belligerent boozehound and his three buddies that has made him too scared to drive another night shift.

Read more:

Letter to Progressive Caucus on the POST Act

CAIR-NY recently called on progressive City Council Members to support the POST Act, a vital bill that would protect New Yorkers’ civil rights.  The POST ACT would require the NYPD to disclose the expanding array of surveillance tools it’s using to spy on our city.

For years, the NYPD has circumvented City Council oversight by using federal funds and grants to purchase new and highly-invasive technologies.  Our elected officials, who are entrusted with overseeing the NYPD, must have the chance to ask how and why these funds are being used.

Read The Letter Here

 

NYPD Notes a 100 Percent Increase in Hate Crimes

In a recent press conference, mayor Bill De Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neil relayed statistics on crime relative to last year. While general crime has seen an overall decrease, the uptick in hate crimes has been dramatic. In just a three-month period, the city has already seen 144 incidents, up from 72 at this point last year- a 100% increase.

Jewish and African-Americans have been the primary targets of these incidents, many of which are non-violent such as pro-Nazi graffitiing across the five boroughs.

While CAIR-NY is appalled by this revelation, we remain mindful of the fact that underreporting is a serious problem in various ethnic and religious communities. We urge all victims of hate crimes to immediate alert law enforcement so that they can swiftly find perpetrators and gather more accurate data.

CAIR-NY also supports additional funding for enhanced detection of and investigation into alleged hate crimes given the growing number of hate crimes in New York.

James Jackson charged with murdering Timothy Caughman

A white supremacist who stabbed a 66-year-old black man to death with a sword in New York has been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime.

James Harris Jackson, who killed Timothy Caughman on Monday, was charged on Thursday after he told police that he had hated black men for at least 10 years.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/james-jackson-charged-murdering-timothy-caughman-170324051916876.html

CAIR-NY Condemns White Supremacist’s Murder of African-American Man Near Times Square, Islamophobic Attack on Woman in Queens

(NEW YORK, NY, 3/23/17) -- The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned a white supremacist’s allegedly racially-motivated murder of an African-American man near Times Square.

CAIR-NY also condemned another apparently bias-motivated attack earlier this month on a woman in Jamaica, Queens.

In the attack near Times Square, James Harris Jackson stabbed Timothy Caughman multiple times in the chest and back on Tuesday night. Jackson later turned himself in to the NYPD quickly telling them where to find the alleged murder weapon. Jackson reportedly traveled from Baltimore to New York with the intention of killing African-American men, hoping that by committing the crime in New York City, he could secure more media attention.

SEE: Army Vet Accused of Murder Came to NYC to Kill Black Men, Cops Say
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/james-harris-jackson-murder-timothy-caughman_us_58d2c77fe4b0b22b0d1939c3 

In the other incident, which took place March 6 in Jamaica, Queens, an unknown woman punched the victim in the neck after shouting anti-Muslim slurs. The NYPD released surveillance video of the incident to seek the public’s help in identifying the alleged attacker.

SEE: Cops Hunt for Half Bald Woman Who Harassed Muslim in Queens
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/cops-hunt-bald-woman-harassed-muslim-queens-article-1.3006279

“We must not lose one more New Yorker to bigotry and violence,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “These bias-motivated attacks are an affront to every human being, and we must all work together to ensure the victims receive justice to fullest extent of the law. We continue to see a distressing increase in hate crimes targeting the Muslim community. Far too many hate crime victims continue to suffer in silence. We must make sure that ever attack is reported and that every attacker is apprehended.”

“If the person who allegedly murdered Timothy Caughman were Muslim or Arab, it would be called what it is: ‘an act of terrorism,’” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn. “Too often we politicize our narratives to highlight some crimes and downplay others. This tragic attack, which targeted the heart of our great city, took the life of one of our fellow New Yorkers.”

“Going forward, our city and state must appropriate the resources needed to safeguard all religious and cultural sites against the threat posed by hate crimes,” said Cahn.

Earlier this week, CAIR-NY endorsed the New York City Council’s proposed security grant program that would allocate $25 million to safeguard Muslim and Jewish Community centers, and other non-profit institutions which have faced increased threats and risk of attacks in recent months.

SEE: Press Release: CAIR Supports NY City Council Security Grant Program to Protect Muslim, Jewish and Other Community Institutions
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2017/3/20/press-release-cair-supports-ny-city-council-security-grant-program-to-protect-muslim-jewish-and-other-community-institutions

Earlier this month, CAIR-NY also condemned the anti-immigrant and racial harassment of a Latino man in Brooklyn, whose attacker subsequently broke his nose.

SEE: CAIR-NY Condemns Desecration of Jewish Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y. and Bias Attack Against Latino Man in Brooklyn, N.Y.
http://www.cair-ny.org/news/2017/3/4/cair-ny-condemns-desecration-of-jewish-cemetery-in-rochester-ny-and-bias-attack-against-latino-man-in-brooklyn-ny 

The number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States has grown exponentially, almost 300 percent in the past year alone according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

SEE: Anti-Muslim Groups 2010-2016| SPLC
https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/anti-muslim 

CAIR’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C., has noted an unprecedented spike in hate incidents targeting Muslims and other minority groups since the November 8 election.

Video: CAIR-MN Seeks Criminal Charges for Harassment Targeting Muslim Woman Shopper
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCTghyTxInc

Muslim community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

CAIR-NY Denounces Mayor de Blasio’s Surprise Appointment of Intelligence Watchdog

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAIR-NY Denounces Mayor de Blasio’s Surprise Appointment of Intelligence Watchdog
 
(NEW YORK, N.Y., 3/21/17) - The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights group, today denounced Mayor de Blasio’s surprise appointment of Stephen Robinson to serve as the Civilian Representative to the NYPD’s newly reconstituted “Handschu Committee.”  The civilian representative is intended to serve as an independent watchdog on NYPD intelligence division investigations, ensuring compliance with the landmark Handschu v. Special Services Division consent decree, which restricts abusive, discriminatory, and unconstitutional surveillance.
 
SEE: NYPD Agrees to Stronger Oversight of Investigations Into Religious, Political Groups
http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/id=1202780650881/NYPD-Agrees-to-Stronger-Oversight-of-Investigations-Into-Religious-Political-Groups?slreturn=20170221172823
 
“Today’s surprise appointment, made without any consultation with the Muslim community, lacks the cooperation we needed to have confidence in this appointment,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “Mayor de Blasio is asking us to blindly trust his appointee will curb the NYPD’s abusive surveillance, but that trust must be earned.”
 
“Mr. Robinson has exemplary legal credentials, but there’s no assurance this longtime prosecutor will be willing to curtail the NYPD’s pattern of unconstitutional surveillance,” said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Cahn. “Once again, Mayor de Blasio has given up a chance at lasting change to paper-over our dysfunctional and discriminatory intelligence apparatus.”
 
Muslim community members are asked to report any police harassment and discrimination to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/ 

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.   

-END -

CAIR-NY keeps your phone safe at the border.

Today, CAIR-NY joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other leading civil rights organizations to file a brief in federal court, arguing that it is unconstitutional to seize and copy a traveler’s phone at the border without a warrant.  CAIR-NY is fighting back against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which argues that they can seize any electronic device at the border, including those belonging to U.S. citizens.

CAIR-NY submitted its brief in U.S. v. Kolsuz, which is on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  CBP officials seized Mr. Kolsuz’s phone and conducted two warrantless searches, including “extensive forensic testing.” CAIR-NY believes that such searches violate travelers’ “dignity and privacy interests,” in clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Read the brief here