SANTA CLARA, CA, 4/5/07) - The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) today commended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the spirit of dialogue and mutual respect she exhibited during her visit to the Middle East.
SEE: House Speaker Pelosi in Saudi Arabia After Meeting Syria's Assad (AP)
In a statement, CAIR-SFBA said:
"We applaud Speaker Pelosi's initiative to use constructive dialogue as a tool for resolving conflicts. America's stature in the Islamic world has been harmed by the Bush administration's emphasis on the use of military force, or the threat of force, rather than dialogue and diplomacy. Speaker Pelosi's visit to the Middle East is a vital step forward in both improving our nation's international image and building better relations with important nations in that volatile region.
"In particular, Speaker Pelosi's visit to the Umayyad mosque in Damascus will contribute greatly to promoting mutual understanding between the West and the Muslim world. It is through mutual understanding that religious divisions and extremism can be challenged and reduced.
"We urge President Bush to implement the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group by working with Congress and Speaker Pelosi to formulate a new strategy that focuses on diplomacy and dialogue, not military force and belligerent rhetoric."
CAIR-SFBA also commended other Democratic and Republican members of Congress who are making similar visits to the region.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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.
WASHINGTON, DC - Mar. 19, 2007 (MASNET) The Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation wishes to express its appreciation to the tens of thousand of people who braved the cold and wind to join the ANSWER Coalition, MAS Freedom Foundation, and the National Council of Arab American (NCAA) for the historical march on the Pentagon. The crowd, estimated at over 30,000, followed the historical route taken 40 years ago by those protesting the war in Vietnam.
Led by a contingent of Iraq war veterans, active-duty service-members, Gold Star families, and veterans from other past and present wars, the demonstration received a large amount of media coverage. CNN has featured the demonstration, which the report described as a march of tens of thousands, in its rotation since yesterday. The major French newspaper, Le Monde, ran a significant article under the headline, "More than 50,000 People Protest Against the War in Iraq," about the March on the Pentagon as the U.S. component of the world-wide protests marking the beginning of the fifth year of the war against Iraq. The rally was broadcast live on C-span and Al-Jazeera and received wide-spread media coverage. C-span will be replaying the rally, check http://www.cspan.org/ for times.
Hosting from the stage were national co-chairs Mahdi Bray, Executive Director of the MAS Freedom Foundation; Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Partnership for Civil Justice; and Peta Lindsey, ANSWER Coalition. Other MAS Freedom Foundation speakers included Dr. Esam Omeish, President of MAS and Khalilah Sabra, Director of the MAS Freedom Foundation-NC
"It is apparent to the majority of the American people that if we wait for Bush and the politicians to end this war then nothing will happen. It will take the collective persistence of the American people to stop this madness that has brought so much death and destruction to the Iraqi people. The momentum around this issue is with the people, and that's why thousands came to Washington, braving the cold weather and marched in the mud. But better mud than blood. We must continue the resistance to this war. "Stated Bray, Executive Director of the MAS Freedom Foundation.
Again MAS Freedom Foundation wishes to thank the participants, volunteers, the MAS chapters, the CCMO, the Islamic party and area mosques, ANSWER Coalition, and other coalition partners for a job well done.
The father of a North Carolina ninth grader who was given 'anti-Muslim' literature in class says the material handed out is not an issue of free speech, but of slander and defamation.
"First of all, it slanders, things like, Mohammed is a 'criminal,' is 'demon possessed' ... that just made my blood boil," said Tariq Butte, whose daughter Saira, was one student who participated in the ninth grade orientation seminar at Enloe High School in Wake County, N.C., where the material was distributed.
Butte is not a practicing Muslim; his wife is Christian and his kids are taught to accept and respect all religions.
"So for a person like me to feel like that - I've never been to a mosque - to feel like that â�¦ for me to feel such hideous attacks, they were not just pointing out failures or weaknesses in Islam or Muslims, they were just attacking."
A representative from the Kamil International Ministries Organization, a Christian group based in Raleigh, was invited by a teacher to come and speak to the class. He handed out literature class that compared the teachings of Jesus with accusations against Islam's Prophet Muhammad; Muslims Jesus as a prophet of God equal to the prophet Muhammad. . .
The Council on American-Islamic Relations wrote to the Adelphos Burns, superintendent of the Wake County Public School System, asking for an apology to the students, as well as disciplinary action against the teacher, a review of policies regarding what outside speakers are allowed to speak in class, and more diversity training for starr.
"It is unconscionable for a teacher at any public school to abuse his or her position of trust by forcing such hate-filled, inaccurate and intolerant materials on students," CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar wrote in the letter. "One can only imagine what a Muslim student in the class might have experienced and how students of other faiths will now regard their Muslim classmates."
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told FOXNews.com on Thursday that so far, the group hasn't received any formal response. Cochran, the school's principal, also did not immediately return calls to FOXNews.com for comment.
At the very least, Hooper said, someone from the Muslim community should have been invited to come in the same day as the Kamil representative to give the Muslim perspective.
"At least that would have been something, but to just bring in this person, presented by an authority person like a teacher, 'here's someone who's going to teach you Islam ... if he was going to stage a public forum and denounce Islam, that's fine," Hooper said.
"This was a captive audience with captive minds who were offered no rebuttal to this type of bigotry."
EX-AIDE SAYS RICE MISLED U.S. CONGRESS ON IRAN
Reuters, 2/14/07 Link
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice misled the U.S. Congress when she said last week that she had not seen a 2003 Iranian proposal for talks with the United States, a former senior government official said on Wednesday.
Flynt Leverett, who worked on the National Security Council when it was headed by Rice, likened the proposal to the 1972 U.S. opening to China. He said he was confident it was seen by Rice and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell but "the administration rejected the overture."
VIOLENCE KEEPS AMERICAN MUSLIMS FROM MAKING PILGRIMAGE TO IRAQ
Deborah Horan, Chicago Tribune, 3/9/07 Link
CHICAGO - His brothers in Iraq are trekking on foot to pay homage to a Shiite saint, lost among the throngs of pilgrims who walk for days each year to reach the Shrine of Imam Hussein in the southern city of Karbala. This year, Ali Meshal is not with them.
Like scores of other Shiites, Meshal, 40, who works in a tobacco store in Bradley, Ill., journeyed instead to a smaller shrine dedicated to Hussein's sister in Damascus, Syria. Traveling to Iraq is simply too dangerous, Meshal said.
"In the Shia religion, (pilgrimage to) Karbala is a big, huge thing for us," Meshal said. "Karbala is heaven. But I couldn't fly. It's not safe to drive. I couldn't get to Iraq so I stayed in Syria."
Meshal read with concern reports of dozens of pilgrims slain Tuesday by a suicide bomber in Hillah, a way station on the road to Karbala. Like other Shiites here, he said he is bracing for more attacks by Saturday, the holy day of Arbaeen, which marks the 40th day of mourning the death in battle of Hussein, the prophet Mohammed's grandson, in 680 A.D.
"I'm afraid any day something could happen to my family," said Meshal, whose three brothers are making the 45-mile trek to Karbala from their homes in Najaf.
While Sunni Muslims also revere Mohammed's grandson, Shiites have elevated Hussein to sainthood. Shiites make annual pilgrimages to his shrine and mourn his death with wailing and self-flagellation, rituals Sunnis don't observe. The crowds of Shiites marching to Karbala thus become easy targets for Sunni insurgents.
U.S. SOLDIERS ACCUSED OF SHOOTING CIVILIANS IN SADR CITY
KIRK SEMPLE, New York Times, 3/10/07 Link
BAGHDAD, March 9 - American soldiers were accused Friday of opening fire on a car carrying a family in the Baghdad district of Sadr City, killing a man and his two young daughters and wounding his son.
The allegations were made by the man's wife, who was in the car, and members of the Iraqi police, who were at the scene. The American military command said in a statement on Friday that it was investigating an episode in Sadr City involving "an escalation of force," but it could not confirm any details of the account given by the man's wife.
BROTHER OF VIRGINIA MUSLIM SCHOLAR MURDERED IN IRAQ
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/14/07) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today offered its sincere condolences to the family of a prominent Muslim with relatives in the United States who was murdered in Iraq.
Family members reported to CAIR that Hamed Ali Al-Hanooti was kidnapped and murdered yesterday in Baghdad. Al-Hanooti was the brother of Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti, a Muslim leader and scholar in the Washington, D.C. area.
Hamed Ali Al-Hanooti was the father of six children.
"To God we belong and to Him we return," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We offer our sincere condolences to the family of Hamed Ali Al-Hanooti and ask God to grant them patience in this time of adversity."
AMERICANS UNDERESTIMATE IRAQI DEATH TOLL
Nancy Benac, Associated Press, 2/24/07 Link
WASHINGTON (AP) - Americans are keenly aware of how many U.S. forces have lost their lives in Iraq, according to a new AP-Ipsos poll. But they woefully underestimate the number of Iraqi civilians who have been killed.
When the poll was conducted earlier this month, a little more than 3,100 U.S. troops had been killed. The midpoint estimate among those polled was right on target, at about 3,000.
Far from a vague statistic, the death toll is painfully real for many Americans. Seventeen percent in the poll know someone who has been killed or wounded in Iraq. And among adults under 35, those closest to the ages of those deployed, 27 percent know someone who has been killed or wounded.
For Daniel Herman, a lawyer in New Castle, Pa., a co-worker's nephew is the human face of the dead.
"This is a fairly rural area," he said. "When somebody dies, ... you hear about it. It makes it very concrete to you."
The number of Iraqis killed, however, is much harder to pin down, and that uncertainty is perhaps reflected in Americans' tendency to lowball the Iraqi death toll by tens of thousands.
Iraqi civilian deaths are estimated at more than 54,000 and could be much higher; some unofficial estimates range into the hundreds of thousands. The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq reports more than 34,000 deaths in 2006 alone.
IRAQ'S DEATH TOLL IS FAR WORSE THAN OUR LEADERS ADMIT
The US and Britain have triggered an episode more deadly than the Rwandan genocide
Independent, 2/14/07 Link
On both sides of the Atlantic, a process of spinning science is preventing a serious discussion about the state of affairs in Iraq.
The government in Iraq claimed last month that since the 2003 invasion between 40,000 and 50,000 violent deaths have occurred. Few have pointed out the absurdity of this statement.
There are three ways we know it is a gross underestimate. First, if it were true, including suicides, South Africa, Colombia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia have experienced higher violent death rates than Iraq over the past four years. If true, many North and South American cities and Sub-Saharan Africa have had a similar murder rate to that claimed in Iraq. For those of us who have been in Iraq, the suggestion that New Orleans is more violent seems simply ridiculous