Action Center

ISLAM-OPED: Media Urged to Drop Term 'Islamist' in New Year

By Opinion piece on AlisoViejoPatch, For Patch, On Jan 3rd 2013, Read Original

Ibrahim Hooper is national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties organization with an active branch in Orange County. 

As many people make promises to themselves to improve their lives or their societies in the coming year, here is a suggested New Year's resolution for media outlets in America and worldwide: Drop the term "Islamist."

The Associated Press (AP) added the term to its influential Stylebook in 2012. That entry reads: "Islamist -- Supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi."

The AP says it sought input from Arabic-speaking experts and hoped to provide a neutral perspective by emphasizing the "wide range" of religious views encompassed in the term.

Many Muslims who wish to serve the public good are influenced by the principles of their faith. Islam teaches Muslims to work for the welfare of humanity and to be honest and just. If this inspiration came from the Bible, such a person might well be called a Good Samaritan. But when the source is the Quran, the person is an "Islamist."

Unfortunately, the term "Islamist" has become shorthand for "Muslims we don't like." It is currently used in an almost exclusively pejorative context and is often coupled with the term "extremist," giving it an even more negative slant.

There are few, if any, positive references to "Islamist" in news articles. There are also no -- nor should there be -- references to "Christianists," "Judaists" or "Hinduists" for those who would similarly seek governments "in accord with the laws" of their respective faiths.

No journalist would think of referring to the "Judaist government of Israel," the "Christianist leader Rick Santorum" or "Hinduist Indian politician Narendra Modi," while use of "Islamist" has become ubiquitous. It might be an interesting exercise to hold a contest, the winner of which would be the first to find a positive mainstream media reference to "Islamist."

Quite likely, such a contest would end up being similar to a unicorn hunt.

The frequent linkage of the term "Islamist" to violence and denial of religious and human rights is also strongly promoted by Islamophobic groups and individuals who seek to launch rhetorical attacks on Islam and Muslims, without the public censure that would normally accompany such bigoted attacks on any other faith.

Islam-bashers routinely use the term to disingenuously claim they only hate "political" Islam, not the faith itself. Yet they fail to explain how a practicing Muslim can be active in the political arena without attracting the label "Islamist."

If the term is retained, media professionals should modify its use to reflect language similar to that used in the AP Stylebook reference to "fundamentalist," which states that the label should not be used unless a group applies the term to itself.

By not dropping or modifying use of the term, the media are making a political and religious value judgment each time it is used.

That is hardly fair or balanced.

Original Article here: http://alisoviejo.patch.com/articles/islam-oped-media-urged-to-drop-term-islamist-in-new-year

Muslim School Holidays Make Sense, the New York Post Doesn't

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In Andrea Peyser’s New York Post column last week titled “Good Sense Takes a Holiday,” the columnist known for covering scandals in the entertainment world expressed everything but good sense. Instead she pointed fingers while sarcastically dismissing the religious observances of over 10% of New York City's public school students.

Peyser claims that respecting a student’s religious observance is affecting the ability of our youth to learn and threatening our education system's ability to function. In particular, respecting the religious observance of Muslim students.

According to Peyser, political correctness and appeasing Muslims—not an increased police presence, prison-like school buildings, the use of prescription pills to address learning problems, an inability to promote teacher accountability, overcrowded classrooms, bullying, increased budget cuts and school closures—are a threat to the learning environment of public school students.

Peyser continues to display her lack of ‘good sense’ and sincere concern by comparing Mother’s Day, Halloween, and even dinosaurs to the observance of Muslim holidays in public schools.  In doing so she conveniently ignores religious holidays such as Easter, Christmas, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and Passover which are observed by the New York City Department of education with nearly three weeks of combined vacation time. On those holidays members of the Jewish and Christian community, including schoolteachers and students, get to spend time with their families for their respective religious observances.

So how is it that the request for a similar recognition for Muslim teachers and students lacks 'good sense'? So much so that Peyser decided to leave behind her usual columns about Lindsay Lohan’s nail polish to write about our ailing educational system.

At this point it should be obvious that Peyser lacks any credibility or credentials to provide substantive dialogue about our education system. In fact her only interest in this subject is in attacking democratic mayoral candidates and the Muslim communities they are addressing--a New York Post favorite pastime. 

Muslims are not asking for special treatment. Our community is only asking to be afforded the same opportunity to celebrate our holidays with our families as our brethren in the Jewish and Christian faith communities.

Muslim holidays, just like Jewish holidays, are based on a lunar calendar and vary from year to year. This means the two days out of the year Muslims are wishing to celebrate often coincide with weekends, other religious holidays, or fall during the summer vacation (which will be the case for the next 5 years).

Suggesting as Peyser put it, Muslims should “just take off” is also not a reasonable alternative.

When members of the Jewish community were given the same option, some districts saw nearly 80-90% of its population absent from school. This reality would be a greater threat to the learning environment and a greater waste of our tax dollars than actually recognizing the holiday as vacation.

What’s perhaps even more troubling about Peyser’s claims is her support of Bloomberg’s position that “You cannot have a day off from school for every single holiday, or we’d have no school.’’ As a Muslim, I am still trying to understand what the Mayor meant. So it’s apparently okay for me to miss school in order for my Jewish and Christian classmates to celebrate religious holidays with their families (which I am more than glad to do), but it’s not okay for my classmates to do the same for me (which I am sure they would be glad to do)? Who decides whose education and religion should be given the preferential treatment? Is it my education, or my religion, or both that’s less important than that of someone who is not Muslim?

We hope New York Post readers with 'good sense' will know these things as New York City continues to grow and evolve into a city of many faiths—all of them respected equally. American Muslims are a proud part of this city, and as active and engaged citizens it should be no shock that government officials elected to represent us address our concerns—including recognizing our religious holidays. In doing so, the candidates and all elected officials are doing something Peyser obviously is not--displaying “good sense.”

 

Mariyum Luqman was born in Brooklyn and currently serves as communications and outreach intern at the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY).

The Case Against Muslim Day at the Capitol

Recently, a member of the Muslim community expressed to me that there is no point to Muslim Day at the Capitol, because “nothing will change.”

I must concede, there is merit to her statement. I for one certainly do not believe that as a direct and immediate result of the meetings with elected officials that will take place on Tuesday April 30, that any of the civil rights, economic, education, health, environmental or other policy areas will change. This is a naive notion and one that misses the point of Muslim Day at the Capitol in the first place.

Public policy changes don't happen overnight and they are not the result of a single meeting between a constituent and their elected official – but rather, from a concerted and consistent dialogue over the course of many months or even years. Our community will be in Albany on Tuesday April 30th because we are a faith community that emphasizes both patience and full engagement in public life. There is no aspect of Islam that emphasizes passivity in calling for fairness, or that suggests that a person's condition in life would improve without hard work.

There are many sub-sections of the American citizenry that wield immense political power. Muslim Americans are not one of those groups – but we should be. Just like every other group who has struggled to make their voices heard, we will do the same. After all, what right do we have to complain to each other about bad policies when in many cases we have not collectively made even the most elementary attempts to curb them. Even more important than our own self interest, America needs our full engagement because policies can improve for all Americans when our community is sharing our ideas, values and unique perspectives.

For the sake of my argument, I'm going to put American Muslims into three basic categories: those who were born here, those who chose to come here and those whose ancestors were forcibly taken here. No matter which of these groups an American Muslim may identify with the most, each one leads to the same conclusion: you are here. America belongs to you as much as it belongs to your neighbors who pay taxes. Owning up to your citizenship means learning how American civic institutions work, how policies are formed and changed, how to become an elected official, and how to exert positive influence over American political structures. Bad policies will continue to thrive when we are apathetic, disengaged or only engaged in the politics of the country we no longer reside in.

I implore you: join us for Muslim Day at the Capitol. Bring your family, your friends – learn more about this process and share your story with the elected officials who depend on your votes.

 

____

Ryan Mahoney is an activist, technologist, and educator. He has played a key role in campaigns that combat Islamophobia and promote unity. In 2012 he founded Virtue Center for Art & Technology--a company whose mission is to technologically enable non-profits and organizations that are positioned to make the most positive impact on the world. 

Muslim activists aim to reclaim the word 'jihad' with ad campaign

By Jonathan Helman and Athena Jones, For CNN, On Feb 5th 2013, Read Original

A Muslim activist group has launched a new ad campaign to reclaim a word they say has been abused and distorted by Muslim extremists and by anti-Muslim groups.

The MyJihad ad campaign is using print ads and social media to educate the public about what they say is the true meaning of the word "jihad."

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term as "1: a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty; also: a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline" and "2: a crusade for a principle or belief."

But some religious activists dispute the emphasis on "holy war." They say the word is often misunderstood and has been co-opted and "misapplied" by radical Muslims who use it to justify terrorist acts and by anti-Muslim groups who use the word to foment fear in non-Muslims.

"The word 'jihad' literally means struggle, struggle for a good cause," said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"It is a concept, a noble concept, within Islam that emphasizes a personal struggle within yourself to be a better person, a better husband, better wife, better worker, better neighbor," he explained. "It is not aggression, and it does not mean to commit harm against other people. If people commit harm against innocent people, it will be in violation of the spirit of Islam and a violation of the concept of jihad."

Lawyers seek to limit New York police surveillance of Muslims

The campaign is the brainchild of Ahmed Rehab, an activist who is also the executive director of CAIR in Chicago. He launched the effort in December with a small group of activists.

They began running ads on 25 city buses in Chicago and later expanded to buses in San Francisco. The ads began running at four metro stations in Washington in late January. They depict Muslims and non-Muslims sharing how they define their personal struggles. One shows a white Jewish man and a black Muslim man standing side by side, with the slogan "#MyJihad is to build bridges across the aisle." Another shows a young female photographer wearing a headscarf and holding a camera. The slogan reads "#MyJihad is to capture the truth even when it's unpopular."

Rehab said the donor-funded campaign is about making sure Muslim children can grow up in a world where they're judged on their own merits and not according to radical stereotypes.

Controversial 'Defeat Jihad' ad in NYC subways?

"I don't wake up in the morning looking for my Kalashnikov or AK-47," he said, highlighting one such stereotype.

The group has also taken its campaign to social media, asking supporters to post on their Facebook pages and use #MyJihad on Twitter to share their personal struggles. Rehab said they have received tens of thousands of encouraging tweets, Facebook messages, letters and e-mails.

The campaign has also attracted skeptics, especially online.

A user with the Twitter handle @Shaqton wrote: "Al-Qaeda: #MyJihad is carrying 'earth-shattering, shocking and terrifying' attacks against 'heart of the land of non-belief' -- U.S. and Europe."

Another user, with the handle @PeterTownsend7,wrote: "Claiming that critics read the Quran 'out of context' is another way of saying that you wish it did not say what it plainly does #myjihad."

Awad said the organizers of the campaign should expect to face resistance to their message but believes they will be successful in starting a conversation about this important tenet of Islam.

Faith groups launch campaign to counter controversial 'Defeat Jihad' ad

"It's an uphill battle, because you are trying to dismantle preconceived ideas about the concept of jihad, because traditionally people have seen stereotypes and they have seen actions by some Muslims, and the majority of Muslims did not step in to say, 'No, this is our faith, and we are going to claim it,'" he said. "It is going to be an uphill battle, because you are trying to undo accumulation of misperception and mispractice -- misperception by non-Muslims and mispractice by some Muslims, and I think it's important for us to take this initiative."

The group hopes to place ads in more cities in the United States and around the world and to expand to other media such as radio and television.

"The message is global. The goal is anti-radicalization," Rehab said.

NYCLU files papers in NYPD Muslim surveillance lawsuit

By Danielle Tcholakian, For Metro, On Feb 4th 2013, Read Original

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed papers yesterday as part of Handschu v. Special Services Division, the federal court case seeking to stop the NYPD from carrying out surveillance of Muslims.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has repeatedly defended the surveillance program. At a lecture to the Carnegie Council last September, Kelly said, “As a matter of Police Department policy, undercover officers and confidential informants do not enter a mosque unless they are following up on a lead vetted under Handschu.”

Kelly was referring to the Handschu guidelines, meant to insure that the police only monitor when there is a clear indication that the group or individual is committing or about to commit a crime.

Not so, said Shamiur Rahman, a Queens resident of Bangladeshi descent who was recruited as an informant by a plainclothes officer in January of last year.

In a declaration in the NYCLU papers filed yesterday, Rahman recounts being instructed by his NYPD handler “Steve” to “spy on members of the Muslim communities in New York” in “mosques and other locations.”

Rahman delivered photos to the NYPD of people worshipping at mosques, and “recorded cell phone numbers from the sign up sheet of people who attended Islamic instruction classes.”

He was also instructed to inform on the Muslim Students Association at John Jay College, where he “took pictures of people in the group and recorded the license plate numbers of their cars.”

NYPD handler “Steve” reportedly told Rahman the police did not suspect the MSA of any wrong-doing, “they just wanted to make sure.”

“According to my NYPD boss Steve,” Rahman said, “the NYPD considers being a religious Muslim a terrorism indicator.”

How the community copes:

Muneer Awad at the Council on American-Islamic Relations said this on-going surveillance has created a culture of insecurity and anxiety among Muslim New Yorkers.
Awad said that students activists and people in Islamic centers “don’t feel as free speaking about issues.”

Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab-American Association of New York said in her declaration in the papers filed yesterday that a man once said to her, “I don’t know whether the guy praying next to me is an informer or not.”

She told him she “could not reassure him that people in the Mosque might not be informers.”

Awad pointed to this sentiment as indicative of the violation Muslim New Yorkers experience.

“You expect discussions with religious leaders to be confidential,” Awad insisted. “This isn’t happening in other communities, other communities wouldn’t tolerate it.”

Informants:

Muneer Awad said he’s heard of recruiting attempts by the NYPD.

“A number of people… told us they felt like they were approached by members of law enforcement in an intimidating manner, suggesting they either work with law enforcement or deal with increased scrutiny from law enforcement,” Awad said.

He said such scrutiny could come in many forms, from being placed on no-fly lists, to trouble for family members in the process of obtaining citizenship.

Awad tries to tell these people they are under no legal obligation to comply, and that such pressure is “inconsistent with what our Constitution guarantees.”

Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne rejects these accusations, insisting that “the NYPD adheres to the Constitution in all it does, and specifically the Handschu guidelines in the deployment of undercover officers.”

Browne also noted that “terrorists have tried to attach New York City on 16 different occasions that we know of” since 9/11. According to Browne, the NYPD has foiled plots to attack the Brooklyn Bridge and the Federal Reserve Bank, and to kill American soldiers returning home to New York.

Remember Dr. King's Dream by Supporting American Muslims

By Rabbi Marc Schneier, For Huffington Post, On Jan 17th 2013, Read Original

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On Jan. 7, exactly two weeks before we are to simultaneously celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and inaugurate Barack Obama to his second term as President of the United States, sinister advertisements went up in dozens of subway stations around New York City, making evident that despite the undoubted strides our nation has made toward achieving justice and equality, bigotry and fear-mongering remain alive and well in America.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative, headed by Pamela Geller, an inflammatory demagogue with a long history of anti-Muslim incitement, purchased space in 39 stations for ads with an image of the burning World Trade Center and a quote attributed to the Quran saying, "Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers." The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which administers New York's transit system, said the ads will run for a month.

This new ad campaign is Round Two of Geller's pernicious campaign to whip up hatred of American Muslims by placing ads in transit systems around the nation. Last September, Geller's group paid for ads in subway stations and on buses in New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago and Denver, which read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." Those ads not only falsely conflated belief in Islam with enmity to Israel, but also implied that adherents of Islam are savages.

The Quranic verse (3:151) which Geller cites in her new ad campaign refers to a moment in early Muslim history in which a large army of idol worshippers from Mecca stood poised to invade Medina in an attempt to wipe out a small community of Muslims living under the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad. If the passage sounds harsh to modern ears, let us not forget that the Torah contains numerous commands by God to the Children of Israel to indiscriminately slay unbelievers and members of enemy tribes.

More than 1,000 years later, Jewish sages of the Talmudic period provided interpretation and context to such quotes; making clear that they are not meant to be interpreted literally or to hold true for eternity. A similar oral tradition, mitigating harsh passages in the Quran, took place in Islam in the centuries following the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Just as no one but an unabashed anti-Semite would suggest that Judaism is a bloodthirsty religion because of biblical passages commanding the Children to Israel to kill their enemies, no one but an anti-Muslim bigot would cite a Quranic verse out of context to smear modern-day Muslims.

It goes without saying that the latest ads in New York subway stations are antithetical to the message of Dr. King, who denounced bigotry against people of all backgrounds. He repeatedly condemned anti-Semitism and would no doubt have denounced the present-day campaign against American Muslims.

We believe too that Dr. King would have been critical of recent court rulings affirming that anti-Muslim ads must be allowed because of First Amendment protections. Freedom of speech is one thing, but demonization of a particular religious, racial or ethnic community is quite another. We doubt that a judge would rule -- or the MTA would accept -- that it is OK to put up billboards referring to Jews, African-Americans or gay people as savages; or asserting that Judaism or Christianity seek to strike terror into the hearts of unbelievers. Yet somehow free speech trumps the right of American Muslims; members of a small and relatively defenseless community, to use transit systems in cities across America without being confronted by placards that drag their religion through the mud.

Yes, as the horrors of 9/11 made vividly clear, there is an extremist cohort that twists the doctrines of Islam to justify terrorism, and we must be vigilant in fighting this group. Yet, as we have learned firsthand through the work we have undertaken at The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding to build ties of understanding and trust between Jews and Muslims, the vast majority of American Muslims are decent, loyal and law-abiding citizens who abhor terrorism and violence. Like their Jewish and Christian counterparts, they want only to practice their faith freely while simultaneously being proud and productive Americans who contribute to the well-being of the larger society.

Tragically, Muslim-baiting of the kind in which Geller and other Islamophobes engage has devastating real-world consequences for American Muslims. In recent years, there have been a growing number of violent -- and sometimes murderous -- hate crimes directed at innocent Muslims and others mistakenly believed to be Muslims. Mosques have been vandalized and even firebombed.

If we as a society wish to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to uphold the hope for a more just and inclusive America implicit in the second inauguration of Barack Obama, we must say a collective "no" to the shameful campaign to stigmatize and scapegoat our fellow Americans of the Muslim faith. By taking that stand, we re-affirm the credo of our nation's founders -- that all Americans, regardless of background, are equal and are worthy of being treated with respect.

Rabbi Marc Schneier and Russell Simmons are President and Chairman of The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a New York-based not for profit dedicated to strengthening ties of communication and cooperation between diverse racial and religious communities.

Follow the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding on Twitter: @FFEUny

riginal Article found here: http://nypdconfidential.com/index.html

Everybody Loves Raymond

By Edited by Donald Forst, For NYPD Confidential, On Jan 21st 2013, Read Original

Not only is Raymond W. Kelly the longest-serving police commissioner in city history but he is also, with a 75 per cent approval rating, the most popular.

How does he do it?

Credit Paul Browne, Kelly’s chief spokesman and longtime factotum, who has been expert both in exaggerating the NYPD’s successes in fighting terrorism and in hiding its mistakes.

Last week, NYPD Confidential described how Browne — known to readers of this column as Mr. Truth — lied to two Associated Press reporters in their Pulitzer Prize-winning series about the existence of NYPD’s Demographics Unit, which mapped the department’s spying on the city’s Muslims.

This week, let’s examine Browne’s terrorism manifesto of Dec. 19th, in which he updated the number of terrorism plots against New York City to 16.

Here’s what Browne has to say of four of the better known plots.

HERALD SQUARE

What Browne said: “Shahawar Matin Siraj and James Elshafay plotted in 2004 to place explosive devices in the Herald Square subway n Manhattan. The plot was derailed through the involvement of an NYPD informant and an undercover officer.

“Elshafay pleaded guilty in 2004 to conspiracy to damage or destroy a subway station by means of an explosive. In 2006 Siraj was found guilty … He was subsequently sentenced to 30 years in prison.

“Shepherding the case from initial lead to federal prosecution required close cooperation with the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.”

What Browne didn’t say: This was the NYPD’s first high-profile case. Siraj, a Pakistani immigrant, was arrested on the eve of the 2004 Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden and charged with plotting to bomb the nearby Herald Square subway station.

Siraj had an IQ of 78, considered borderline intellectual functioning, a step above mental retardation.

Evidence at his trial revealed that the police had paid $100,000 to a confidential informant, who gained Siraj’s trust and encouraged him in his plot.

Co-defendant Elshafay described himself as schizophrenic and said he had spent time in a psychiatric ward. Shortly after his release from his treatment, he said he plotted with Siraj. Immediately after his arrest, he agreed to testify against Siraj.

The NYPD never informed the FBI of its investigation until the end of the case when police needed a federal warrant

SUBWAY PLOT

What Browne said: “In September, 2009, New York narrowly averted an attack on its subway system plotted by three individuals who grew up in Queens. …The three had planned to set off bombs in the subway during rush hour shortly after the eighth anniversary of 9/11…. The plot was thwarted through intelligence it received by the FBI with the cooperation of the NYPD through the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”

What Brown didn’t say: Amidst the FBI’s investigation, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence David Cohen ordered an Intel detective to contact a confidential informant. But Cohen never informed the FBI.

Meanwhile, the informant, Queens Imam Wais Afzali, tipped off the father of Najibullah Zazi, one of the three plotters. The father informed his son, who lived in Aurora, Col. and who then cut short his trip to New York, short-circuiting the investigation. The FBI, which had placed a wiretap on the father’s phone, was forced to arrest Zazi and the other two plotters prematurely.

To hide Cohen’s role, the NYPD transferred Deputy Inspector Paul Ciorra, a terrorism expert, to a captain’s slot in the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Trials, where his assignment was to prepare the schedules of the department’s five police trial judges — an obvious demotion.

The day after the New York Times suggested that Ciorra had been made a scapegoat for the mistakes of higher-ups, Kelly transferred him again — this time to the position of commanding officer of the Highway Unit — a full Inspector’s position, suggesting a future promotion. [See NYPD Confidential Sept. 28, 2009]

BROOKLYN BRIDGE.

What Browne said: “In 2002, Lyman Faris, a U.S.-based al-Qaeda operative, planned to cut the Brooklyn Bridge’s support cables at the direction of 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. However, as a testament to NYPD terrorism deterrence efforts, Faris called off the plot, indicating to al-Qaeda leaders that ‘the weather is too hot.’ … NYPD’s 24-hour coverage of the bridge, much of which was put in place following 9/11 and intentionally made highly visible, played a large role in Faris’s decision to abandon the plot.

“Faris was arrested in 2003, pleaded guilty, and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for providing material support and resources to al-Qaeda, among other charges. Knowing that the city’s bridges and critical infrastructure remain attractive terrorist targets, the NYPD maintains heightened security around such facilities.”

What Browne did not say: The FBI had alerted the NYPD to Faris’s plan to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge. As a result, the NYPD increased the bridge’s security.

There is no evidence the NYPD’s presence on the bridge played a role, large or small, in Faris’s decision to abandon the plot. According to a Department of Justice press release at Faris’s sentencing on October 28, 2003, Faris said he lacked “gas cutters” — the necessary equipment to sever the bridge’s suspension cables. In other coded messages, he indicated he had been unable to obtain them.

Despite the NYPD’s security on the bridge, which Kelly has maintained included round-the-clock patrol cars on the entry ramps and a police boat nearby in the East River, on the night of June 26, 2012, a 32-year-old graffiti artist named Enno Tianen was somehow able to climb to one of the bridge’s stanchions 119 feet over the East River and tag his name —“Lewy BTM” — in three spots.

How did he do it? Did he use a rope? A scaffold? Lights? Did he have accomplices? How long did all this take him? Most important, where were the cops in those patrol cars at the entry ramps and in the police boat?

JOSE PIMENTEL

What Browne said: “Jose Pimentel, a native of the Dominican Republic and convert to Islam, was charged with plotting to detonate bombs in and around New York City in November, 2011. …After a two-and-a half year investigation by the NYPD Intelligence Division, Pimentel was caught while assembling three bombs. Pimentel’s criminal case is pending.

What Brown did not say: The FBI declined to indict Pimentel. FBI sources said he was unemployed, broke, beset with mental problems and incapable of building a bomb himself. The bomb was constructed in the apartment of an NYPD undercover, who smoked marijuana with Pimentel and helped him construct the bomb.

Because of the FBI’s reluctance to pursue Pimentel’s case, he will be tried not in federal but in state court.

Original Article found here: http://nypdconfidential.com/index.htm

Helping You Voice Your Vote: An election day guide

Are You Ready for Election Day?
A few tips to help you Voice Your Vote. #MuslimVote

CAIR-NY would like to extend its thoughts and prayers to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and we would also like to remind you all that election day will continue tomorrow as scheduled despite the devastation we all witnessed last week and are experiencing in the storm's aftermath. Please review this short guide to voting below to help you fufill your civic duty to vote on election day.

1.  LOCATING YOUR POLLING LOCATION:  Polls across New York will be open from 6AM to 9PM on Tuesday November 6, 2012.  

·     You can find your polling location online by entering the address you provided when you registered to vote at the State Election Board website here: http://gis.nyc.gov/vote/ps/index.htm.

·     NOTE POLL SITE CHANGES: Due to Hurrican Sandy storm damage, the New York State Election Board has changed or combined various polling locations. CAIR-NY urges voters to check where their polling location is by using the online poll locater before election day, and by viewing the changes at this link: 

http://vote.nyc.ny.us/downloads/pdf/documents/boe/2012GeneralElection/pollsitechangepostsandy.pdf.

2.  KNOW YOUR VOTER RIGHTS: Please review the voter rights guide found on the website of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) for a better understanding of your rights as a voter.  

·     VOTING IN A LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH: Some New York counties require polling sites to provide Spanish, Chinese, Korean or Bengali ballots. Contact your local board of elections prior to Election Day to learn what is available in your area. If language assistance is not required in your area, you have the right to bring an interpreter with you to the polls. The interpreter can be any person who is not an employer, an agent of an employer, or an officer or agent of a labor union.

·     NYCLU also encourages voters to REPORT VIOLATIONS OF VOTER RIGHTS by making a complaint with the person in charge of the polling location, reporting a complaint to a present volunteer poll watcher working with a non-profit or a campaign, and by reaching out to the Voter Protection Hotline online or by phone at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) anytime before or after voting. 

 

3.  ABSENTEE VOTING: You must have submitted an application for absentee voting in order to use an absentee ballot.

·     Absentee Voting in person can be done at your State Election Board Borough office today until 5PM, or tomorrow from 6AM-9PM.

·     Absentee Voting via mail must be postmarked no later than today (Monday, Nov 5), or delivered in person to your State Election Board Borough Office no later than today (Monday, Nov 5).

·     EMERGENCY ABSENTEE BALLOT: If, due to an accident or sudden illness, you are unable to go to the polls on election day, you may send a representative with an authorized letter to submit both an Absentee Ballot Application and Absentee Ballot no later than 9PM on election day at your Board of Elections Borough Office. 

ACTION ALERT: Urge NYPD to Stop 'Baiting' Muslims

ACTION ALERT: Urge NYPD to Stop 'Baiting' Muslims

A recent report published by the Associated Press revealed an NYPD informant's admission of his role to 'bait' innocent Muslims into saying inflamatory things.

NYPD Informant: "NYPD paid me to 'bait' Muslims"

We cannot stand by and watch more young Muslims being manipulated by the NYPD to violate the trust of our own communities. These policies are damaging to our communities and our elected officials must address these urgent concerns.

ACT NOW & JOIN CAIR-NY CALLS TO REFORM THE NYPD

CAIR-NY has been working with the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition (MACLC) and Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) to pass the “Community Safety Act,” a package of 4 bills (Intro. 799, 800, 801, & 881) that would strengthen protections for minority communities and institute an independent Inspector General to exercise oversight over the NYPD.

A majority of City Council members have already signed on to support the “Community Safety Act”, even as Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD are resisting calls for change. But we still need more Council members to sign on to override the Mayor’s veto. The following Council members have not signed on to support the Community Safety Act.

  1. Support the Community Safety Act.
  2. I am very concerned with the latest AP reports revealing the NYPD's use of informants to 'bait' Muslims.
  3. The damaging effectes of mass surveillance and discriminatory policing will not be addressed without reforming the NYPD.
  4. We need legal safeguards, accountability, and oversight of the NYPD in order to protect all our communities.

FIND CITY COUNCIL DISTRICTS & CONTACT INFO HERE:

http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml

 

MANHATTAN:

Christine Quinn, Speaker of the City Council

QUEENS:

Peter Koo

Mark Weprin

Eric Ulrich

Elizabeth Crowley

James Gennaro

Peter Vallone, Jr., Chairman of the Public Safety Committee

BROOKLYN:

Erik Martin Dilan

Lewis Fidler

Darlene Mealy

Michael Nelson

Vincent Gentile

Domenic Recchia, Jr.

BRONX:

Joel Rivera

James Vacca

STATEN ISLAND:

Vincent Ignizio

James Oddo

After you call and e-mail, make sure your friends and family do too. If you have further questions, please contact CAIR-NY Advocacy Director Cyrus McGoldrick at 212-870-2002, or cmcgoldrick@cair.com.

ACTION ALERT: Bring Samir Home to New York

ACTION ALERT: Tell Your Representatives to Take Samir Off DHS 'No-Fly List'

How are you spending your Eid holiday? With family and friends? Comfortable at home, we hope. Everyone should have the right to spend this blessed time of year at home with family; unless your name is Samir, you are Muslim, and you flew overseas for a vacation.

Samir, a 26 year-old Queens native and US Citizen, has been stranded in Europe for 20 days and counting by the Department of Homeland Security without any explanation. As an American citizen, this is a grave violation of his civil rights, and a flagrant disregard for the US Constitution by our federal agencies. What Samir thought would be a pleasant vacation to Montenegro to visit family, turned out to be a nightmare for him and his mother who is waiting for his return in New York. 

CAIR-NY has demanded the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Customs and Border Proetection (CBP) address this injustice urgently, but Samir's elected officials have remained silent. 

JOIN CAIR-NY AND URGE SAMIR'S ELECTED OFFICIALS TO DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF THIER CONSTITUENT AND DEMAND THE FEDERAL AGENCIES RESPONSIBLE FOR SAMIR'S EXILE TO ACT NOW!

 

  1. U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman - District Office: (718) 423-2154 - https://ackerman-forms.house.gov/contact-gary
  2. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer – 202-224-6542 - www.schumer.senate.gov/Contact/contact_chuck.cfm
  3. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand – 202-224-4451 - www.gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/
  4. State Senator Tony Avella - 718-357-3094 - 518-455-2210 - avella@nysenate.gov - http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/tony-avella/contact
  5. State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein - 718-357-3588 - 518-455-5425 - braunsteine@assembly.state.ny.us - http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Edward-C-Braunstein/contact/
  6. City Councilmember Daniel Halloran - 718-631-6703 - 212-788-7250 - dhalloran@council.nyc.govm.

 

Then, share this with your networks and make sure that 5 friends do the same! Help us protect Americans from oppressive policies, and bring Samir home to his family.

Earlier this year, CAIR called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate acts of "coercion and intimidation" allegedly used by the FBI to pressure Muslim citizens into giving up their constitutional rights if they wished to return to the United States from overseas.

CAIR Seeks Probe of Whether FBI Sought Torture of U.S. Muslim

http://tinyurl.com/793u9wk

CAIR Asks DOJ to Probe Oregon FBI's 'Coercion' of Muslim Citizens

http://tinyurl.com/7ool6pf

Last year, CAIR filed a lawsuit against the DOJ and the FBI seeking a court order to allow a Virginia Muslim teenager who had been detained in Kuwait and placed on a U.S. government no-fly list to return to the United States.

CAIR: Va. Muslim on No-Fly List Returning to U.S.

http://tinyurl.com/6egwl7e

Silent March Against Racial Profiling

Join the NAACP, 1199 SEIU, National Action Network, Civil Rights, faith, labor and community groups in a silent march against NYCs "Stop and Frisk" policy!

On Father's Day, let's stand together to show that New Yorkers refuse to let our children be victimized by racial profiling.

Location: 110th Street (between 5th and Lenox Avenues) NY, NY

Sunday, June 17, 2012.

Time: 1:00 PM EST

www.silentmarchnyc.org

Tension between FBI and NYPD grows over NYPD surveillance tactics

Consequences for security as NYPD-FBI rift widens

NEW YORK (AP) — In the fall of 2010, the FBI and New York Police Department were working together on a terrorism investigation on Long Island. The cyber case had been open for more than a year at the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn. So, the Justice Department was surprised when, without notice, the NYPD went to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and asked them to approve a search warrant in the case.

Full Article: Associated Press