U.S. Muslims condemn Church attack in Pakistan
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a prominent Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, today condemned a grenade attack on a Pakistani church that left five people dead, including two Americans.
In a statement, CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad said:
"We condemn this attack in the strongest terms possible and call for the apprehension of the perpetrators. It is not only an act of terrorism against innocent civilians, but is also an assault on the sanctity of a
house of worship. No political or religious cause could justify such horrifying violence."
Muslims react to Imam Jamil Al-Amin verdict
On Monday, March 11, the National Support Committee for Imam Jamil Al-Amin* will hold a news conference in Atlanta, Ga., to offer the American Muslim community's reaction to today's verdict by an Atlanta jury that found Al-Amin guilty of killing one Fulton County sheriff's deputy and wounding another. The news conference will take place at 10 a.m. (EST) in front of Atlanta's Fulton County Courthouse, located at the corner of Martin Luther King and Pryor streets.
In a statement issued today, the support committee said:
"We do not believe the facts presented in court warranted a guilty verdict against Imam Jamil. His defense team offered credible evidence indicating that he was not the person who shot the deputies. We believe Imam Jamil will be exonerated on appeal.
"Because the death penalty has been disproportionately applied to minority defendants in America, we oppose its use in this, or any other trial.
"The American Muslim community and its leadership will continue to support the cause of justice in this case and will work to ensure that Imam Jamil is able to exercise all the rights he is entitled to under the law."
* The National Support Committee for Imam Jamil: (in alphabetical order) Al-Ummah (Imam Jamil Al-Amin), American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Foundation, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Alliance in North America, Muslim American Society, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Students Alliance for Imam Jamil, Women in Islam Justice Committee
Ashcroft asked to clarify offensive remarks on Islam
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today joined other Muslim and Arab-American groups in calling on Attorney General John Ashcroft to clarify offensive remarks he allegedly made in December about the faith of Islam.
According to an interview with syndicated columnist Cal Thomas published on the internet site crosswalk.com, Ashcroft said: "Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you." Despite several requests from Muslim and Arab-American groups, Ashcroft has not responded publicly.
"If true, these remarks are inaccurate, offensive and are unbecoming of a law enforcement official who is currently initiating and administering policies that have a disproportionate impact on Muslims. His remarks are
also in direct contradiction to President Bush's repeated statements of respect for Islam," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. He called on the president and other public officials to distance themselves from Ashcroft's remarks.
Awad cited the hundreds of Muslim detainees held following the September 11 terrorist attacks, the "voluntary" interviews of legal Muslim visa holders, the closure of immigration hearings, and profiling of Muslim and Arab-American airline passengers as examples of policies impacting Muslims. He added that just last Friday, media reports indicated that law enforcement authorities will focus on apprehending illegal Muslim and Arab immigrants who have ignored deportation orders, despite the fact that the vast majority of 314,000 so-called "absconders" are not Muslim or Arab.
"It is hard to see how policies such as these, which after all are based on racial and religious profiling, can be administered in an unbiased manner given Mr. Ashcroft's apparent hostility toward Islam," said Awad.
There are an estimated seven million Muslims in America and some 1.2 billion worldwide. CAIR has received more than 1700 reports of anti-Muslim backlash since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Correctional Institutions Offered Guide To Islamic Practices
As controversy grows over the treatment of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group today announced the publication of a booklet designed to sensitize correctional institutions to the religious needs of Muslim inmates.
Excerpts from the guide may be downloaded as a printable pdf file by clicking here.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) publication, "A Correctional Institution's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," contains information about the religious rights of inmates, as well as basic details
about Islamic beliefs, dietary and clothing needs and the requirements for the five daily prayers. The booklet also describes the Islamic perspective on the issue of inmates' beards. (The booklet costs $3+S/H.)
"Since CAIR's inception as a civil rights and advocacy organization, we have dealt with issues related to religious accommodation in schools, prisons, hospitals, and the workplace. Each setting has its own
requirements and limitations. We offer this guide as a tool to be used in protecting inmate religious rights while at the same time promoting a secure correctional environment," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. Awad added that CAIR has noted an increase in the number of requests for Islamic materials by prison officials and inmates.
The correctional institution's guide is the fourth in a series of CAIR publications designed to support the religious rights of American Muslims. Other booklets in this series include "A Health Care Provider's Guide to
Islamic Religious Practices," "An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices" and "An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices." Thousands of these booklets are now being used by corporations, schools and