ACTION ALERT: URGE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO APPOINT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO INVESTIGATE TORTURE - TOP
(WASHINGTON, DC, 4/28/2009) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on people of conscience to urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration’s use of torture.
Department of Justice memos released last week detail the use of troubling legal theories to allow the use of water-boarding and other brutal abuse of prisoners during interrogation.
Read the memos here.
“Restoring America’s moral authority in the world requires that we perform a credible review of where the law was exceeded,” said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED:
1) Contact Attorney General Eric Holder and ask him to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate our nation’s recent use of torture and inform the American people about the extent of this stain on our national honor.
Click here to join the call for justice right now.
-----FBI MONITORED MEMBERS OF O.C. MOSQUES AT GYMS, ALLEGED INFORMANT SAYS - TOPCraig Monteilh alleges he was instructed to pose as a Muslim convert, lure mosque members to gyms, work out with them and report to the FBI.Scott Glover, Los Angeles Times, 4/27/09
As part of their anti-terrorism efforts, FBI agents monitored popular gyms throughout Orange County to gather intelligence on members of several local mosques, according to a man who claims to have been a key informant in the operation.
Sal Hernandez, director of the FBI's Los Angeles office, declined comment on the matter Monday. Another law enforcement source, however, confirmed that the surveillance occurred, but emphasized that it was a narrowly focused operation targeting people whom the informant had already implicated in alleged crimes.
The informant is Craig Monteilh, who said he posed as a Muslim convert at the request of the FBI to gather intelligence that might aid anti-terrorism investigators.
Monteilh, a muscular man with a background as a personal trainer, said he was instructed to lure mosque members to work out with him at local gyms. FBI agents, he said, later would obtain security camera footage from the gyms and ask him to identify the people on the tapes and to provide additional information about them. He said he was told that the agents then conducted background checks on the men, looking for anything that could be used to pressure them to become informants.
Disclosures of the FBI's tactics have angered some leaders in the Muslim community in Orange County who saw it as a betrayal of their efforts to assist law enforcement after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The issue has reverberated nationwide.
Last week, a coalition of the nation's largest Muslim organizations, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Islamic Society of North America, issued a statement demanding that the Obama administration address FBI actions, including what they described as the "infiltration of mosques," the use of "agent provocateurs to trap unsuspecting Muslim youth" and the "deliberate vilification" of the council.
Hussam Ayloush, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Anaheim, said he viewed the most recent disclosure as a form of religious profiling that "reflects a deeply rooted mind-set that was promoted by the Bush Administration." "I'm not surprised," he said. "It confirms our worst fears." (More)
CAIR-CA: MAN SAYS HE ID'D MIDDLE EASTERNERS AT GYMS FOR FBI - TOPFBI declines to address allegations, citing ongoing investigations.Salvador Hernandez, Orange County Register, 4/28/09
An Irvine man who claims to have worked as an FBI informant said he was asked by agents to identify photos of Middle Eastern men who worked out at Orange County gyms as part of an effort to identify terrorist cells in the U.S.
Craig Monteilh said he worked as an informant from July 2006 to October 2007. He said he identified hundreds of Middle Eastern men in pictures that appeared to be taken from surveillance footage from several O.C gyms. He said agents asked him to act as a "magnet" for members of the Muslim community - work out with them, and provide information, such as names and telephone numbers, to the FBI.
Agents were interested only in young Middle Eastern men, Monteilh said, and when a picture was identified as someone that was not, "they (pictures) were discarded," he said…
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Council on Islamic American Relations, said he wouldn't be surprised if Monteilh's allegations of surveillance in OC gyms were true.
"Any normal activity, conducted by others, once it is conducted by Muslims, it's labeled suspicious," Ayloush said. "Many Muslims were questioned about suspicious activity, but the fact they were Muslim is what rendered these activities suspicious."
Having to circle an airport because of missing a terminal, taking pictures of tourist areas, hunting, paint ball, or "building muscles," are misconstrued as suspicious when conducted by someone who appears to be Middle Eastern, Ayloush said. (More)
U.S. MUSLIM COALITION REAFFIRMS OPPOSITION TO FBI TACTICS - TOP
Click here to see the statement by the American Muslim Taskforce.
OBAMA'S OUTREACH TO MUSLIMS SHOULD BEGIN AT HOME - TOPDawud Walid, Detroit Free Press, 4/28/09
The Obama administration’s efforts to improve America’s image with the Muslim world cannot be successful without healthy engagement of the American Muslim community, which includes investigating and curtailing abuses against American Muslims that started under the Bush administration.Advertisement
Since taking office, President Obama has made several positive steps. The President mentioned in his historic inaugural address the desire to seek a new way forward with the Muslim world "based on mutual interest and mutual respect." His first televised interview in office was with Al-Arabiya, in which he reiterated this aspiration. He sent a heartfelt Nowruz greeting on video to the Iranian government and people, and he just recently made his first trip to a Muslim majority country, Turkey, which was the former seat of the Ottoman Empire.
With all of these efforts abroad, the Muslim world is also keenly aware of ongoing abuses against American Muslims. The knowledge of these abuses is influencing public opinion within the Muslim world that could place barriers in front of the new vision of engagement by our president. International media, including Al-Arabiya, is currently reporting ongoing abuses by the FBI against American Muslims and their organizations such as recent revelations of an agent provocateur in California who confessed to being sent on fishing expeditions in mosques to entrap unsuspecting worshipers including youth. (More)
OBAMA SEEKS IMPROVED RELATIONSHIP WITH MUSLIM WORLD - TOPPatsy Widakuswara, Voice of America, 4/28/09Even before his inauguration in January, Barack Obama indicated that he would seek a new relationship with the Muslim world, based on mutual interests and respect. Since taking office, decisions he has made - like closing the Guantanamo Detention Center with a year and banning harsh interrogation techniques on detainees - have been welcomed in the Muslim world.
But analysts say a turn around in relations may well hinge on the President's ability to bring Israelis and Palestinians together for a peace deal.
Mr. Obama addressed the Muslim world early in his presidency.
He spoke before Turkey's parliament in April.
"The United States is not, and never will be at war with Islam," Mr. Obama said.
The speech was regarded as a dramatic change in tone from the Bush administration…
But some Muslim Americans are skeptical there will be real change.
"Rhetoric is nice but we're waiting for action both on the international level and on the domestic front," Ibrahim Hooper said. Hooper is communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (More)
-----HATE SPEECH APPLAUDED AT FLORIDA SYNAGOGUE - TOPCAIR calls on members of Jewish community to condemn ‘Nazi-like propaganda’(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/28/09) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today call on members of the Jewish community to condemn the anti-Islam hate of a speaker who was recently given a standing ovation at a Florida synagogue.CAIR said the speech by Dutch anti-Islam extremist politician Geert Wilders took place at a “large synagogue in Palm Beach.” In the speech, Wilders went through his usual laundry list of hate-filled views, including his claim that “Islam is not a religion” and “the right to religious freedom should not apply to this totalitarian ideology called Islam,” all to the applause of the audience. Wilders also called for stopping immigration from Muslim countries and urged “voluntary repatriation” to those countries.SEE: Anti-Islam Hate Applauded at Florida Synagogue
“A synagogue should be the last place that Geert Wilders’ Nazi-like propaganda would find a warm reception,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Members of the Jewish community know all too well what happens when a religious minority is demonized by demagogues. Wilders uses the same scurrilous attacks on Muslims and Islam that the Nazis used against German Jews and Judaism in the 1930s.”
He added that Wilders’ message of hate received a warm welcome at another American synagogue. In Massachusetts, Wilders warned worshipers about the “dangers” of Islam and the Quran, Islam’s revealed text. His Islamophobic hate speech was again applauded by the audience.
SEE: Geert Wilders' Nazi-Like Message Applauded at Mass. SynagogueHooper also noted that CAIR this week called on GOP leaders to demand that Rep. Adam Hasner, the head of Florida’s House Republicans, step down from his leadership post for co-hosting an event at which Wilders made the same anti-Islam remarks.SEE: Fla. House GOP Leader Hosts Event Denying Religious FreedomCAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.CONTACT: CAIR-South Florida Executive Director Altaf Ali, 954-272-0490, 954-298-8214, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ramzy Kilic, Tel: 813-514-1414 or 813-486-2529, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com
CAIR-CAN CONDEMNS VANDALISM OF MONTREAL-AREA MOSQUE - TOP
(Ottawa, Canada - 28/04/08) - The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) condemns the recent act of vandalism of a Montreal-area mosque in which one of the mosque’s walls were spray painted with graffiti. CAIR-CAN calls on the Montreal Police to ensure that this incident is investigated swiftly as a possible hate crime and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
In June 2008, the same mosque, the Turkish Muslim Association of Montreal mosque in Dorval, was vandalized in a similar manner, with similar handwriting, indicating that the perpetrators are likely the same as before. In both instances, the side of the mosque was spray painted with the word “Koran” and numbers that reference somewhat controversial verses of the Quran that are often taken out of their historical context and misinterpreted as implying that Islam teaches Muslims to wage wars against non-Muslims.
In a statement released today, CAIR-CAN said:
"The defacement of any place of worship is deeply offensive and hurtful. Islam promotes social justice, peaceful relations and understanding with our neighbours - both Muslims and non-Muslims. As with other religions, however, verses have and sadly probably will continue to be taken out context by hatemongers and extremists on the fringes who seek to further their personal or political agendas,” said Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Executive Director.
"CAIR-CAN calls on local politicians and security officials in Montreal to demonstrate leadership by standing firm against all forms of hate, racism and xenophobia. They must investigate, as a matter of urgency, the repetitive targeting of this mosque as a possible hate crime incident and bring the criminals responsible to justice.
"CAIR-CAN encourages the people of Montreal and citizens of conscience across Canada to engage in outreach efforts. Only by strengthening relations with our neighbours and building bridges of understanding will Canadians stand truly united in defence of our democratic values. We must show hate groups that their malicious agendas will not be tolerated in civil society."
SEE: Dorval Mosque Vandalized Again
CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Executive Director, 613.254.9704; 613.853.4111