Posts Tagged As: Council on American-Islamic Relations

Trump Selects Alt-Right Nationalist As “Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor”

Jim Burroway

November 14th, 2016

Steve BannonDonald Trump has named Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign chief and former editor of the extremist website Breitbart News, to be his “chief strategist and senior counselor.” It’s just one more example of the normalization of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism taking place in this country that leading news outlets are covering this announcement by highlighting Trump’s naming of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff (oh, and Bannon will play some kind of a “major role“), even though, as the Guardian correctly notes, “The statement announcing Trump’s decision named Bannon first, despite the vague title of his role.”

Brietbart News is famous for its deplorably racist, anti-Semitic, trans- and homophobic and xenophobic headlines. The liberal Media Matters has a pretty good collection of headlines published during Bannon’s tenure: “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew”, “Trannies 49XS Higher HIV Rate”, “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”, “Huma Abedin ‘Most Likely A Saudi Spy’ With ‘Deep, Inarguable Connections’ to ‘Global Terrorist Entity'”, “Lesbian Bridezillas Bully Bridal Shop Owner Over Religious Beliefs”, “Young Muslins In the West Are A Ticking Time bomb”, “6 Reasons Pamela Geller’s Muhammad Cartoon Contest Is Not different From Selma.” Also: “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.” That was two weeks after the Mother Emanuel massacre in Charleston, SC. The New York Daily News obtained court documents from Bannon’s 2007 divorce that gives some insight into how Bannon thinks:

Mary Louise Piccard said in a 2007 court declaration that Bannon didn’t want their twin daughters attending the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles because many Jewish students were enrolled at the elite institution.

“The biggest problem he had with Archer is the number of Jews that attend,” Piccard said in her statement signed on June 27, 2007.

“He said that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews,” Piccard wrote.

“I told him that there are children who are Jewish at (a competing school), and he asked me what the percentage was. I told him that I didn’t know because it wasn’t an issue for me as I am not raising the girls to be either anti-Semitic or prejudiced against anyone,” she wrote.

The Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt responded to Bannon’s appointment: It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house.'” John Weaver, Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s top strategist, tweeted, “The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office. Be very vigilant America.” Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said, “The appointment of Stephen Bannon as a top Trump administration strategist sends the disturbing message that anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and White nationalist ideology will be welcome in the White House.”

Priebus, for his part, has been dutifully making the rounds of cable news shows this morning defending Trump’s choice for consigliere.

He was a force for good on the campaign. He’s very wise and smart. He’s gone to the London School of Economics, Harvard Business School. People don’t know that he was a ten-year naval officer at very high levels, advising admirals in the navy,” said Priebus on Fox News. “I have not seen any of these things that people are crying out about.”

Because, you know being a Harvard grad magically inoculates you against all that, doesn’t it?

Let’s Not Fight One Phobia By Embracing Another

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

Numerous chapters of the Council on Islamic-American Relations across the country have released statements condemning yesterday’s attack on the gay night club Pulse in Orlando. The statements run the gamut from brief to, well…  some of the spokespersons “get it.” I’ve highlighted the ones who “got it” — the ones who specifically and accurately described the victims of the attack, which, as we’ve seen, a lot of people just aren’t willing to do.

For example, there was this statement that was read live on the major news networks. CNN and NBC carried it, that I know of. (Did Fox?) Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national Executive Director said this:

We offer condolences to the families and we pray for recovery of the survivors. This is a hate crime, plain and simple. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms. It violates our principles as Americans and as Muslims. Let me be perfectly clear. We have no tolerance for extremism of any kind. We must not tolerate hateful rhetoric that incites violence against minorities. Religious freedom is a cornerstone of our beliefs as Muslims and as Americans. Today, we must stand united.

For many years, members of the LGBT community have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community against any act of hate crimes, Islamophobia, marginalization and discrimination. Today, we stand with them shoulder to shoulder. The liberation of the American Muslim community is profoundly linked to the liberation of other minority groups: blacks, Latinos, gay, Jewish, trans and every other community that has faced discrimination and operation in this country.

Other chapters — I’d say about half of them that issued their own statements (some issued joint statements with local LGBT leaders) — followed suit:

Like all Americans, Ohio Muslims express their condemnation of this horrific act of violence. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the families, friends and loved ones of the deceased and the injured.

As a civil rights organization that works to end bigotry and hatred, CAIR-Cleveland stands in solidarity with the Florida LGBTQ community at this time of great sorrow for our entire country.

As Americans we must come together as a people and work to build a society based on peace, mutual respect and understanding among all people. There should be no place for hate in our country.

— Julia Shearson, Executive Director of CAIR-Cleveland.

“Muslims across Ohio and the Tri-State join their fellow Americans in grief and shock to condemn Sunday’s mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando,” said Karen Dabdoub, Executive Director of the Cincinnati chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the GLBT community over this tragedy and we offer our deepest condolences and prayers.”

The Clifton Mosque also shares its condolences with the victims and their families. “The Islamic Association of Cincinnati stands with all Americans and in particular the LGBTQ community as we denounce the senseless loss of life in Orlando yesterday. Violence has no place is our religion or in our society. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families”.

Imam Ismaeel Chartier, imam at the Islamic Association of Cincinnati is co-organizing a vigil for Orlando today (Monday) at 6:30 PM at Fountain Square with “Cincinnati in Solidarity with Orlando”.

— Various statements from CAIR-Cincinnati

“The Columbus Muslim community is shocked and appalled by this horrific hate crime against the LGBT community. There are simply no words strong enough to convey our sorrow, disgust, and deep regret that yet another misguided individual has carried out a truly heinous and unjustifiable act in the name of ISIS. The fact that this atrocity was committed during Ramadan, our most holy month, a time when Muslims are supposed to focus on prayer, charity, and acts of kindness, shows that the perpetrator cared about nothing beyond ISIS’ perverted agenda.”

— Romin Iqbal, Staff attorney of CAIR-Columbus

Minnesota Muslims condemn in the strongest possible terms the mass shooting in Orlando. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured”

The LGBTQ community has stood side by side with the American Muslim community during challenging and difficult times. We stand together against hatred, violence and demonization of entire communities.

— Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of the CAIR-Minnesota

Just stating that our hearts go out to all who are affected and who now must try to recover from the carnage created by Omar Mateen is not enough. Truly our thoughts are with them; however, we as a nation MUST address the core issues: hatred and terror, and the warped thinking that leads one to commit such atrocities, whether it may be the murder of 20 babies and their teachers in Connecticut, or the slaughter of nine worshippers in a holy sanctuary in South Carolina, or the hundreds of other such unthinkable murderous events wrought upon this nation. We stand firm in our commitment to building a country and a world where diversity, and religious, social and ethnic differences are celebrated to unite us all.”

…Since 9/11, the LGBTQ community has time and again supported the Muslim American community against the trials of bigotry and Islamophobia. Now, the Muslim American community stands with the LGBTQ community, as we believe any Muslim who embodies true Islamic principles should do.

— Miriam Amer, Executive Director of CAIR-Iowa

“We are horrified by this atrocious hate crime and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured. We also offer our support and allyship to the LGBTQ community, which has been a faithful ally against Islamophobia. The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.”

— Basim Elkarra, Executive Director of CAIR-Sacramento Valley

Following 9/11 attacks, the LGBTQ community has provided consistent and continuous support of the Muslim American community against the challenges of discrimination and Islamophobia. Now, we stand with the LGBTQ community in this great horror and injustice. We believe Muslims such as recently passed Muhammad Ali exemplify true Islamic principles of equality, while people like Omar Mateen represent the enemy of the faith and humanity.

— Sstatement from CAIR-California

American Muslims have set up a LaunchGood page to raise money for the Orlando shooting victims. LaunchGood describes itself as a platform for “crowdfunding incredible Muslims worldwide.” with a “30 days of giving” campaign for Ramada. The Pulse shooting campaign is the Ramadan Challenge for Day 8. As of noon PST today, the site has raised $44,588 out of a $50,000 goal. The page explains:


At least 50 people were killed and 50 more wounded in Orlando, Florida where a gunman went on a horrific shooting spree at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety. Far too many Orlando families lost their loved ones in a deplorable act of violence. This is why a collective of American Muslim leaders and groups have united to raise funds for the victims’ families.

We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action. Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “Have mercy to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens (God) will have mercy upon you.” And the Quran teaches to “Repel evil by that which is better” (41:34).

Whatever anyone feels about Islam, it cannot be denied that contemporary Islam, and I would presume the vast majority of its adherents hold abhorant views about the LGBT community. (I’m guessing here; I have no polling data on hand. I pretty sure I’m not going out on a limb here.) I’m not so certain that the Qu’ran’s take on homosexuality is any worse than the Torah or the Bible. The key difference is that mainstream Christianity and Judaism no longer holds to the kill-the-gays imperative of Leviticus, but vast swaths of contemporary Islam have not arrived to a parallel conclusion. So to those who argue that fundamental Islam is, on average, worse than fundamental Christianity or Judaism, I don’t really think I can argue against that based on what little I know today.

But let’s be very clear about the limitations of what “on average” means. As we’ve done a lot of work to change attitudes among American Christians and American Jews, we now have even more work to do to change attitudes among American Muslims. Based on my interactions with devout Muslims that I got to know here in Tucson, I know that goodwill exists among some — certainly not all, and probably not a majority, but some — and that this can an opening, either for further engagement or for closing the door entirely. 

And so it seems to me we have a choice. Do we answer the drum beat of those who see this as yet another opportunity to further the passions of Islamophobia, or do we resolve not to exchange one phobia for another?

Council On American-Islamic Relations React

Jim Burroway

June 12th, 2016

We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured. The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any gropu that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.

Rasha Mubarak, the Orlando regional coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.


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