Anti-Muslim graffiti found after FBI search in Michigan
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/22/02) - Relatives of a Dearborn, Mich., Muslim arrested last week while allegedly carrying counterfeit checks say they found anti-Islamic graffiti scrawled in the man's house following a search by the FBI and Secret Service. The man, a Jordanian-American, was arrested Wednesday after he arrived in Detroit on a flight from Indonesia.
Relatives told the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, they found the words "Islam is Evil" and " Christ is King" written on a Muslim prayer calendar attached to the man's refrigerator. (Contact CAIR to obtain a copy of the calendar.) CAIR is calling on Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate the incident.
The man's brother said he and his wife were babysitting in the house last Thursday when officers of the two agencies came to search the premises. It was after being handcuffed, questioned and fingerprinted that family members say they discovered the slurs.
In a letter to Ashcroft, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote:
"While law enforcement authorities have the right, and even the duty, to follow all legitimate leads in the search for those who would cause harm to our nation, they do not have the right to insult the religious beliefs of those they are questioning.
"American Muslims want to do their part in protecting our nation and will offer any information that might be useful in that effort. However, indications that those questioned will be subject to religious slurs or bias only serve to impede legitimate investigations.
"This incident is of particular concern to us because it does not reflect the professionalism and concern for due process exhibited by the many FBI officials and other law enforcement authorities CAIR has been in dialogue with on civil liberties issues since the tragic events of September 11, 2001."
Awad recommended the creation of a national civil liberties advisory panel that would consult with law enforcement officials to ensure that citizens' civil rights are maintained during this time of crisis. There are an estimated seven million Muslims in America and some 1.2 billion worldwide.
California Governor to sign Halaal Food Bill
California's Governor Gray Davis will today sign the Halal Food Bill (AB1828) into law at a Los Angeles Islamic center. The bill makes it a misdemeanor to, with the intent to defraud, sell or expose for sale, "meat, meat products, or any food product that is falsely represented as being halal, or as having been prepared according to Islamic religious requirements." (Halal food is that which satisfies Islamic guidelines on content and preparation. For example, Muslims are prohibited from consuming pork products or foods containing alcohol.)
The bill passed unanimously in the California State Legislature. Similar bills have passed in New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota.
CAIR-CA worked with Assemblyman Bill Campbell (R-71) to draft and introduce the bill. Dr. Ahmad Sakr of the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) provided technical and scholarly assistance.
"The passage of the Halal Food Bill reaffirms California's commitment to religious diversity," said Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of CAIR-LA.
WHEN: Monday, July 8, 2002, 11:15 a.m. (Pacific)
WHERE: Islamic Center of Southern California, 434 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90020 (CALL 213-382-9200 for directions.)
CONTACT: Sabiha Khan, 714-776-1847 or 714-390-0334 (Cell)
Ill. Sheriff's deputy denied right to Islamic Scarf
A national Islamic advocacy group is calling on Illinois' Cook County Sheriff's Department to allow a Muslim deputy to wear a religiously-mandated headscarf. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says sheriff's department officials have repeatedly denied the deputy's requests for religious accommodation, claiming it violates uniform guidelines.
The woman, a Cook County Deputy Sheriff since 1993, converted to Islam in January of this year and began wearing an Islamic headscarf at that time. When she went to work wearing a scarf matching her uniform, she was told to file a written request for religious accommodation. (The Muslim deputy provides security at a county courthouse.)
When the deputy did not receive a timely reply to that request, she asked if she could wear her scarf pending a decision. That request was denied. She now wears her scarf off duty and removes it while at work.
The department's denial of religious accommodation came despite the fact that such accommodations have been offered to employees of other faiths. According to an EEOC complaint, the department currently allows a Jewish uniformed officer to wear a yarmulke, or skullcap.
"An inflexible, and arbitrarily applied policy aimed at uniformity of appearance is insufficient to override an individual's deeply-help religious beliefs. America's increasing religious, cultural and ethnic diversity requires that creative solutions be found to balance the needs of employers with the religious rights of employees," said CAIR Civil Rights Manager Joshua Salaam.
In a letter to Cook County Sheriff Michael F. Sheahan, CAIR demanded that his department: 1) allow the Muslim deputy to wear her Islamic headscarf while at work, 2) clarify its policy on religious accommodation, 3) institute religious sensitivity training for department staff, and 4) compensate the Muslim employee for the negative financial and emotional impact resulting from the department's denial of religious accommodation.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religious beliefs or practices. The act requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee, unless to do so would create an undue hardship. CAIR publishes a booklet, "An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," designed to prevent these types of incidents.
There are an estimated 400,000 Muslims in the Chicago area.
Line Break (Shift + Enter)