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Former Member of CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) Board Files Complaint with Justice Department About (Among Others) "the 'Jewish Lobby'":

[UPDATE: I originally called Anisa Abd el Fattah a member of the CAIR board, both in the title of the post and in the last paragraph; she was a member of the CAIR board, as the site I link to below noted, but is no longer a member. I've posted a separate correction above, but I've also updated the post below to label her as a former board member.]

Here's the complaint, which asks the Justice Department to "take the steps necessary to end" various "practices," apparently including "statements made that may reach the level of hate speech," "various organizations['] and individuals['] ... provid[ing] misleading and highly politicized information," and more. The complaint "especially alleges":

1. Jewish organizations and activists have created an "enemies" list that includes Muslims, Arabs and white nationalists' organizations here in the US. This list is compromised of individuals and groups that are deemed threats or enemies of the State of Israel.

2. These organizations have used their financial resources and also their formidable political influence to purposefully poison public opinion against Muslims, Arabs, and Islam in an attempt to demonize and vilify the same for political purposes, and to create an environment conducive to the deprivation of and denial of Muslim and Arab constitutional rights and repression of religious freedoms in respect to Islam.

Presumably these are "practices" that the Justice Department is likewise asked to "take the steps necessary to end." The complaint also alleges some actual crimes — supposed perjury — but the material that is "especially allege[d]," even if it were factually entirely true, would of course remain entirely constitutionally protected, and beyond the Justice Department's reach.

The author, Anisa Abd el Fattah, is writing on behalf of the "National Association of Muslim American Women"; I have no reason to think that this group has any magnitude or influence, but Anisa Abd el Fattah does appear to have in the past been "a member of the Board of Directors for (CAIR), Council on American Islamic Relations, and to be involved as leader and speaker with various other organizations. (If she were just a lone voice, I probably wouldn't have noted her solo letter, but given that she has at least some prominence in certain circles, the letter struck me as newsworthy.)

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. A Heartwarming Tale of People Coming Together:
  2. Anisa Abd el Fattah on the First Amendment:
  3. Anisa Abd el Fattah Responds:
  4. Correction Regarding Anisa Abd el Fattah and CAIR:
  5. Former Member of CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) Board Files Complaint with Justice Department About (Among Others) "the 'Jewish Lobby'":
MnZ (mail):
Perhaps the DOJ should just fax back the text of the First Amendment.
1.18.2007 2:24pm
Hans Bader (mail):
As with so many appeals for censorship, the complaint rests on a "hostile environment" theory, seeks to suppress opposing views by labeling them "hate speech" that creates a "hostile environment."

It illustrates the dangerous nature of the "hostile environment" justification for censorship, which infests our workplaces and universities.

(The campus speech codes struck down by federal district courts were framed as bans on "verbal conduct" that contributes to a "hostile environment," extending to educational settings the vague and manipulable "hostile environment" concept that the EEOC has imposed on the nation's workplaces. See, e.g., UWM Post v. Board of Regents, 774 F.Supp. 1163 (E.D. Wis. 1991)).
1.18.2007 2:26pm
Barry P. (mail):
The complainant appears to think she's in the UK, where the "authorities" are expected to "do something" about this sort of thing, and are usually pretty happy to comply.
1.18.2007 2:27pm
wooga:
I think Barry P hits the nail on the head. Anisa seems oblivious to the American tradition of free speech and religion bashing. Unfortunately, the expression "I believe in freedom of speech but not for hate speech" is all too common in the UK. The Brits (and an unfortunately large segment of US university personnel) don't stop to think: if nobody is offended by a particular type of speech, do we really need any laws to protect the speaker?

"Freedom of speech" is ONLY meaningful where it protects offensive and hateful speech. And if your own religious beliefs are so frail and intellectually bankrupt that you can't defend yourself in the market place of ideas against those evil jooos, well, Anisa, maybe you should abandon it.
1.18.2007 2:51pm
The General:
just another example of CAIR trying to shut people up who say things they don't like. I find it difficult to believe that anyone takes these folks seriously.
1.18.2007 3:00pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Let me get this straight.

Its not the lack of organized muslim outrage at muslims killing people and cutting heads off in the name of Allah, cartoon censorship, picking up the Koran with the wrong hand, or whatever other ridiculous excuse for barbaric 4th century behavior is in vogue on a day to day basis in Islam, but its the Jewish Lobby that is bringing Islam into disrepute.

Yeah that's it.

Says the "Dog"
1.18.2007 3:10pm
Hoosier:
Dog:

Please stop posting that sort of thing.

It's turning this blog into a hostile environment. Don't make me get all DOJ on yo' arse.

Hoosier
1.18.2007 3:29pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall of the DOJ to see their reaction when they open and read this letter. Someone this nutty is just begging to have people mess with her. Maybe they can send her a response typed on stationary that has watermarks of the Star of David superimposed on the American flag in the background. ;)
1.18.2007 3:33pm
Houston Lawyer:
I've seen CAIR's public spokesman on numerous occasions. He can't get two minutes into anything before he goes off on "the Jews". As usual, those seeking to censor the speech of others are usually the ones who "should" have their speech censored.
1.18.2007 3:36pm
Constantin:
If only the Bush Admin dismissed this insanity as readily as we do. Just ask the thousands of TSA workers forced to undergo what amounts to sensitivity training after the Flying Imams incident--monitored in many instances by CAIR reps--in response to CAIR complaints.

Always foolish to underestimate the power and reach of stupidity and cowardice. Maybe "death wish indulgence" should be added to the list, too.
1.18.2007 3:46pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
Keep an eye on the Somali cab drivers situation in Minneapolis- so goes that, so goes it all.

We have been told outright that our innate national tolerance will be used against us.
1.18.2007 4:19pm
steve lubet (mail):
I am no fan of CAIR, but the organization is not responsible for the actions of a board memeber.
1.18.2007 4:29pm
Spitzer:
This is the same woman who penned an article in late December pleading for Saddum Hussein's life. In the article, obviously intended for an Islamic audience, she referred to the United States as "our common enemy."

http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/39210

In a confusing June 2005 article, she seems to accuse Richard Perle of formulating, apparently in conjunction with the Israelis (in the 1990s) Israel's attacks on the Palestinians, Sharon's "desecration" of the Jerusalem mosque, and the invasion of Iraq. Apparently the invasion of Iraq, and the various tortures of terrorists, have also been orchestrated by a certain chosen people.

http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/15570
1.18.2007 4:30pm
Kevin Murphy:
Perhaps the DOJ should just fax back the text of the First Amendment.

It's not clear they have a copy handy.
1.18.2007 4:35pm
Steve:
Keep an eye on the Somali cab drivers situation in Minneapolis- so goes that, so goes it all.

Oh yeah, that was awful, when they tried to work out a voluntary arrangement that everyone would have been OK with. I sure hope we don't start down that slippery slope.
1.18.2007 4:39pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I am no fan of CAIR, but the organization is not responsible for the actions of a board memeber.


Good point, however I think it is fair to ask CAIR why a group who by it's very name suggests that they are interested in American-Islamic relations would have on its board someone who thinks of the United States as the "common enemy" of Muslims?

Yes CAIR isn't responsible per se for the opinions of the members of its board but they voluntarily chose to put this person in a leadership position and just as we judge other organizations by who they put in positions of leadership (and the message it sends), it is entirely fair to hold CAIR to that same standard.
1.18.2007 4:44pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
Think about this for a moment.

A council of Islamic people have demanded in writing that we do something about the vast Zionist conspiracy in America, because it's racist.

Am I the only one who finds this hysterical?
1.18.2007 4:50pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Keep an eye on the Somali cab drivers situation in Minneapolis- so goes that, so goes it all.


Oh yeah, that was awful, when they tried to work out a voluntary arrangement that everyone would have been OK with. I sure hope we don't start down that slippery slope.


Agreed, not every disagreement has to be a battle in the culture war. Someone figured out a way to come with a solution to a (rather minor) issue that the interested parties could live with. Thank God wisdom arrived before the lawyers did.
1.18.2007 4:54pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
A council of Islamic people have demanded in writing that we do something about the vast Zionist conspiracy in America, because it's racist.


I'm not sure the National Association of Muslim American Women (the organization on whose behalf the letter was sent) qualifies as a "council of Islamic people." While I think it is fair to question CAIR about their decision to have this woman on their board, that's not the same as they're having "demanded in writing that we do something about the vast Zionist conspiracy in America."

Although it might be fun to ask them if they agree with the content of the letter if only to see how long it takes to get a straight answer ;)
1.18.2007 4:59pm
Barry:
When the American Left made the conscience decision to invite Islamofascists like Anisa Abd el Fattah into this country they knew what they were doing. The American Islamofascist community (including every single member of CAIR) needs to be fought against psychologically, legally, and physically.
1.18.2007 5:03pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Question for the peanut gallery. I've been searching on google for information about the "National Association of Muslim American Women" and I haven't found a website or domain name or any concrete information about the group. The only hits I've been able to find are articles written by this person where she refers to herself as the president. I'm wondering if she's also the only member. Does anyone know anything about this group?
1.18.2007 5:08pm
Christopher Johnson (mail) (www):
It's extrememly intestesting that this person is sticking up for "white nationalists."
1.18.2007 5:17pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
OT, a bit, but does no one else find CAIR's very name a little . . . odd? Substitute the adjectival form of any other religion for "Islamic," and does "Council on American- ____ Relations" make sense? At all? At minimum it seems to suggest that "Muslims" and "Americans" are two discrete parties that need to have some carefully-counciled "relations." People suggested the something of the same kind about "Catholics" and "Americans" in 1960, as I understand it, but back then it wasn't an organization purporting to speak for Catholics that was doing the suggesting.

But really: Try it. "Council on American-Buddhist Relations." "Council on American-Anglican Relations." "Council on American-Lutheran Relations." "Council on American-Hindu Relations." Don't you think that in the early planning stages of any such organization, someone would have piped up with "But there are lots of American Buddhists/Anglicans/Lutherans/Hindus, and this just looks silly; let's call ourselves something else"?
1.18.2007 5:20pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Eugene,

I don't know whether "Barry" actually believes what he just posted, or is trolling incognito to see whether anyone will challenge him/her/it, but IMO anyone advocating physical violence against anyone for belonging to any organization other than an entity with which we are at declared war ought to be banned from this site, double-quick-pronto. Your call, but my view is that you ought to stop it, now.
1.18.2007 5:34pm
PersonFromPorlock:

...and denial of Muslim and Arab constitutional rights and repression of religious freedoms...

Well, we already discourage all those religions that feature human sacrifice, so the idea that 'just any' religious practice is absolutely constitutionally protected is pretty much DOA. After that, we're just haggling over the details and if Islam can be shown to be pernicious there's no reason government can't interfere with it.

The First Amendment forbids the government from being a religion's sponsor, not from being its enemy.
1.18.2007 5:36pm
AndersK (mail):

Agreed, not every disagreement has to be a battle in the culture war. Someone figured out a way to come with a solution to a (rather minor) issue that the
interested parties could live with. Thank God wisdom arrived before the lawyers did.



I disagree, the agenda of the Muslim organizations calling for exceptions for Muslims aren't concerned with equality and civil rights but want to enforce sharia based norms on the rest of society.
Does the First Amendment free exercise clause or other applicable law require accommodation of intolerant Islamic customs? If the answer is in the negative, compromise for compromise's sake is inappropriate where the intended target of the accommodation is unlikely to reciprocate any tolerance toward rest of society.












And surprise, CAIR is no ordinary civil rights group.
www.danielpipes.org/article/394
1.18.2007 5:40pm
David Pittelli (mail) (www):
wooga: "Freedom of speech" is ONLY meaningful where it protects offensive and hateful speech.

Don't forget political speech. Oh yeah... The First Amendment doesn't protect political speech (e.g., McCain-Feingold, perhaps a returning "Fairness Doctrine") or, soon, "hate" speech, just "speech" which is offensive to moralists and scolds.
1.18.2007 5:54pm
clazy (mail):
I think you've put it very nicely, Michelle. CAIR exists to maintain the separateness of Muslims and Americans.
1.18.2007 5:56pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The First Amendment forbids the government from being a religion's sponsor, not from being its enemy.
Hmmm? The First Amendment guarantees that Congress may not interfere with the free exercise of religion. I think that pretty well precludes it from being an enemy.

It is, however, perfectly legitimate for the government to take actions against individuals whose conduct is a problem—the distinction between beliefs and actions. That's the basis on which Reynolds (1878) upheld the federal polygamy ban. It was not religious beliefs that were banned, but a specific action. Furthermore, the ban on polygamy, while clearly aimed at Mormons, applied equally to people of any religion or of no religion.
1.18.2007 6:09pm
AndersK (mail):

Well, we already discourage all those religions that feature human sacrifice, so the idea that 'just any' religious practice is absolutely constitutionally
protected is pretty much DOA. After that, we're just haggling over the details and if Islam can be shown to be pernicious there's no reason government
can't interfere with it.


Oh no, I don't hope that you argue that the government could or should discriminate against Islam or Muslims. But if you could just moderate your position, I think you might have a point.
We may not ban the practice of Islam per se, but after the court said in Employment Division v. Smith that neutral laws of general applicability imposing incidental burdens on the free exercise of religion don't violate the Free Exercise clause , the question that should be asked is whether or to what extend we should be accommodating to Islam, where no reciprocal tolerance is shown by Muslims toward Christians or other religions.
When CAIR and other similar Muslim organizations appeal to respect for religious liberty and civil rights,their lack of condemnation of religious persecution in Saudi Arabia and their refusal to condemn proscribed terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hizbollah by name, is certainly something the legislature should take into account when considering policy recommendations.
1.18.2007 6:10pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
Michelle:

I think this is a classic example of "Islamic" being much like "Jewish", in that it refers to a religion AND a culture AND a racial kinship. While the religious aspect seems odd, what about a "Council on American-Celtic Relations", or a "Council on American-Slavic Relations"?

After all, "American" does not carry a religious identity, so if we are going to contrast it with something else, that something else is almost certainly not going to mean a religion.
1.18.2007 6:10pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Does the First Amendment free exercise clause or other applicable law require accommodation of intolerant Islamic customs?
Nope. At least until the Democrats get a chance to change this (in the name of "diversity" and "multiculturalism"), laws that criminalize female genital mutilation remain Constitutional.

If female genital mutilation were being done by white rednecks, the left wouldn't be making excuses for it. Because it is done by populations that are largely Islamic, they get a special pass from the left.
1.18.2007 6:13pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Kevin Murphy,

LOL!!!!!!!!

Thorley,

Either Cab Drivers are common carriers or they ar not. I just looked up the settlement: the cabs were going to be color coded. If you had visible alcohol or a visible dog you were to request another cab.

The people who didn't like it could have shut the Somalis down by carrying a bottle in the open.

Of course if enough of that happens the Muslims pile up and it becomes hard to dispatch the cabs.

I like the American way. Don't want to make money in a pig abattoir, because according to your religion pigs will defile you? Don't apply for the job.

What will the Muslims ask for next? Banning ham sandwiches? I suppose that would be bad for lawyers. Especially when it comes to grand jury indictments.
1.18.2007 6:14pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ PersonFromPorlock:

"we already discourage all those religions that feature human sacrifice"

There's a subtlety here. The religion isn't discouraged - the sacrifice is. You can believe that human sacrifice is a natural and normal component of worship, you simply cannot perform or attend such a sacrifice in this country.

Likewise, a person can choose to *believe* the wanton slaughter of innocents is not only acceptable, but desirable. There is no law in this country that can prevent him from believing this, or indeed from speaking this belief. What is illegal is for him to actually *perform* a wanton slaughter of innocents.
1.18.2007 6:19pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ M. Simon:

"What will the Muslims ask for next? Banning ham sandwiches?"

I think that may be an agenda on which the Muslims and Jews could actually agree.
1.18.2007 6:20pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

Oh yeah, that was awful, when they tried to work out a voluntary arrangement that everyone would have been OK with. I sure hope we don't start down that slippery slope.


If you were vehemently opposed to deforestation, would you get a job with Weyerhauser? If you did work for them, would you demand that they cease their activities?

What compromise? There is no compromise- you drive a cab the law says you have to accept a fare. If you don't want to play it that way, get another job- no one is forcing cab drivers to be cab drivers, this is the United States.
1.18.2007 6:20pm
Redman:

just another example of CAIR trying to shut people up who say things they don't like.


Hey, just be grateful they're using pen and ink and not suitcase bombs.

Yet.
1.18.2007 6:21pm
Christopher Fotos (mail) (www):
Someone figured out a way to come with a solution to a (rather minor) issue that the interested parties could live with. Thank God wisdom arrived before the lawyers did.

The last I heard, the solution was to deny Somali Muslim or any other cabdrivers at Minneapolist/St. Paul International from refusing fares carrying alchohol. Sounds good to me.

Was there another development?
1.18.2007 6:21pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ Christopher Fotos:

I've always been of the opinion that alcohol is an indicator of behavior. If you are carrying alcohol, you are more likely to be drunk. If you are drunk, you are more likely to, say, throw up in the cab. How much more likely does that have to be for me to say "nope, I don't want you puking in my cab"?
1.18.2007 6:33pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Caliban Darklock,

Never heard of a Jewish cab driver refusing a fare because of a ham sandwich.
1.18.2007 6:34pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Caliban Darklock,

How do you prevent people with a**holes from defacating in a cab? After all such defacation is more likely if a person has an a**hole.
1.18.2007 6:37pm
AntonK (mail):
Steve Lubet says:

I am no fan of CAIR, but the organization is not responsible for the actions of a board memeber.


Perhaps not, but it is responsible for itself. See here, here, and here
1.18.2007 6:39pm
Christopher Fotos (mail) (www):
I've always been of the opinion that alcohol is an indicator of behavior. If you are carrying alcohol, you are more likely to be drunk. If you are drunk, you are more likely to, say, throw up in the cab. How much more likely does that have to be for me to say "nope, I don't want you puking in my cab"?

On the remote possibility that you are serious.... oh forget it, you can't be.

Or perhaps you've never flown. Duty free shopping is one of the simple pleasures of international travel, quite common, and produces a remarkably low rate of puking in taxicabs.

And of course, the Somalis lodging the objection (or the group manipulating them) objected to this based on religious grounds, not any puking index that I am aware of.
1.18.2007 6:51pm
clazy (mail):
Caliban, What you've said hasn't changed anything. The formulation American-Whatever relations indicates a dichotomy, not a subset. Would you say American-Floridian relations and believe you'd made any sense? You could, however, say Georgia-Florida relations.
1.18.2007 6:53pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

I've always been of the opinion that alcohol is an indicator of behavior. If you are carrying alcohol, you are more likely to be drunk. If you are drunk, you are more likely to, say, throw up in the cab. How much more likely does that have to be for me to say "nope, I don't want you puking in my cab"?


that's an opinion, alright.
1.18.2007 6:55pm
clazy (mail):
As for Chairwoman Abd el Fattah, I've found a reference to her and the "National Association of Muslim Women" as far back as the July 28, 1995, Washington Times, a story entitled "Religious groups say U.N. platform undermines family".

However, in a story appearing in the Aug. 23, 1996, USA Today, entitled "Muslims want a place at political table U.S. activists are organizing, registering and energizing voters", she is the "executive director of Muslim Women for America".

By Feb. 28, 1998, she was the "executive director" of the "Center for Public Policy Research" in Springfield. That day, a letter by her appeared in the Washington Times entitled "The United Nations saves America from going to war ".

Goodness she's busy. On Sept 25, 2001, a press release appeared in which she is a member of the "Coalition of Muslim American Women Against All Forms of Terrorism". They were announcing a press conference.

These are only a few of the things I found in Factiva. I randomly chose items, and so far she's never worked for the same organization--ha! So busy. March 23, 2004? Director of Public Affairs for the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), "a Muslim American think tank". In a press release she condemns "the murder of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin". They share phones with the Coalition of Muslim American etc.

The most recent appearance is in the Washington Post, March 27, 2004. "Imam Not Allowed To Attend Va. Meeting". Here are the first four grafs, which are quite interesting:

----
A federal judge yesterday rejected a Cleveland imam's request to travel to Northern Virginia for what prosecutors said was a meeting with a group with ties to terrorists.

The imam, Fawaz Damra, faces federal charges in Ohio that he lied on his citizenship forms by concealing his affiliation with several terrorist groups, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He had asked a judge earlier this week for permission to travel to Springfield for a meeting last night sponsored by the United Association for Studies and Research Inc., or UASR.

The group says it is a Muslim American think tank, but federal prosecutors and congressional investigators have linked it to terrorist groups, primarily the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, court records and interviews show. Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

Anisa Abd el Fattah, director of public affairs for UASR, said the organization is not tied to Hamas or any other terrorist group. She said last night's meeting at the UASR offices was the first in a series that would lead to "a structure for what we hope is going to be Muslim-Jewish dialogue between Muslim and Jewish leaders in the United States."
----
the article continues.
1.18.2007 6:55pm
JK:

Never heard of a Jewish cab driver refusing a fare because of a ham sandwich.


I've never heard of a Jewish cab driver
1.18.2007 6:56pm
AntonK (mail):
1.18.2007 6:58pm
AntonK (mail):
1.18.2007 7:03pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
While theoretically CAIR can serve a useful purpose, it has wasted its potential by crying wolf at every affront brought to its attention. Instead of considering the possibility of ignorance--or even stupidity--CAIR invariably leaps to the conclusion of conspiracy against American Muslims.

As some of the comments above show, there's useful work to be done in trying to convince people that Islam is something other than gross stereotypes (E.g. the estimable Cramer's assumption that FGM is somehow 'Islamic' when it is, in fact, cultural and practiced by Muslims, Christians, and animists across Africa).

Even when CAIR brings up a legitimate gripe, it is now just ignored as it takes too much effort to cut through the brush to see what's actually going on.
1.18.2007 7:03pm
AndersK (mail):

And of course, the Somalis lodging the
objection (or the group manipulating them) objected to this based on religious grounds, not any puking index that
I am aware of.

If the Somalis can't stand living in the land of hedonism , perhaps they should pack their bags and move to a Whahabist paradise. I would suggest Saudi Arabia, oh no, not at all, non-Arab Muslims aren't welcome.
1.18.2007 7:04pm
clazy (mail):
I have to wonder what "structure for Muslim-Jewish dialogue" the folks at Ms. Abd al Fattah's United Association for Studies and Research could have had in mind. On this page, just a few months before the good woman explained the UASR's nocturnal activities, the organization put out a press release with this priceless paragraph:

"But something serious, even grave, has taken place since 11 September 2001. The Jews in America and Israel have cleverly exploited these startling and spectacular attacks on America's homeland, and are now consolidating their power in Washington."

What a most friendly dialogue that would have been, I'm sure.
1.18.2007 7:16pm
AntonK (mail):
The Minneapolis Star Tribune has an interesting story about their Somali Muslim community's thoughts on the airport taxi issue. For the past five years (interestingly, only since September 11th), Somali Muslim drivers have flatly refused to take passengers with alcohol, or blind passengers with dogs, citing both violate Islamic religious law. Apparently, that's not entirely true.

Airport taxi flap about alcohol has deeper significance


At the Starbucks coffee shop in Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, a favorite Somali gathering spot, holidaymakers celebrating Eid, the end of Ramadan, filled the tables on Monday. Several taxis were parked outside...

"I was surprised and shocked when I heard it was an issue at the airport," said Faysal Omar. "Back in Somalia, there was never any problem with taking alcohol in a taxi."

Jama Dirie said, "If a driver doesn't pick up everyone, he should get his license canceled and get kicked out of the airport."

Two of the Somalis present defended the idea that Islam prohibits cabdrivers from transporting passengers with alcohol. An argument erupted. The consensus seemed to be that only a small number of Somalis object to transporting alcohol. It's a matter of personal opinion, not Islamic law, several men said...

Ahmed Samatar, a nationally recognized expert on Somali society at Macalester College, confirmed that view. "There is a general Islamic prohibition against drinking," he said, "but carrying alcohol for people in commercial enterprise has never been forbidden. There is no basis in Somali cultural practice or legal tradition for that.

"This is one of those new concoctions."It is being foisted on the Somali community by an inside or outside group," he added. "I do not know who."

Is it possible some inside/outside group, like the Muslim Brotherhood, through their proxy the MAS, are making things up to gain power and condition Americans to accept Muslim "religious" law no matter how ridiculous? The article goes into detail about the MAS connection to the airport taxi issue. They also nicely point out the connection between the MAS and the Brotherhood. Make no mistake, an issue like this is part of the culture war, as Islamists seek to transform the United States into a Muslim nation. As the paper notes:

The international Muslim Brotherhood "preaches that religion and politics cannot be separated and that governments eventually should be Islamic," according to the Tribune. U.S. members emphasize that they follow American laws, but want people here to convert to Islam so that one day a majority will support a society governed by Islamic law."

The airport commission in Minneapolis is doing its best to stand its ground on this issue. While many may miss the importance of an issue like this in the larger scheme, it's imperative Minneapolis stand by its principles of fairness and equity. And that means if yout religion demands that you discriminate, fine, do so, but not at the expense of the public.
1.18.2007 7:17pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Caliban Darklock,

I think this is a classic example of "Islamic" being much like "Jewish", in that it refers to a religion AND a culture AND a racial kinship. While the religious aspect seems odd, what about a "Council on American-Celtic Relations", or a "Council on American-Slavic Relations"?

If you really don't think most Americans would find both of these laugh-out-loud ridiculous . . . I don't know quite where to start, there.

I do know what you're saying. The only difficulty is that it isn't true. "Islamic" is no more a proxy for "racial kinship" than is "Catholic." Unless you really think you can persuade the Muslim Arabs (Sunni and Shi'a), the Muslim Kurds, the Muslim Persians, and the Muslim Indonesians that they are all, literally, blood brothers.
1.18.2007 7:25pm
AndersK (mail):

the estimable Cramer's assumption that FGM is somehow 'Islamic' when it is, in fact, cultural and practiced by Muslims, Christians, and animists across
Africa).

The position of Islamic scohlars is actually not categorically opposed to FGM. Some scholars believe that removing the hood of the clitoris is permitted by a hadith, other scholars such as Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi takes the view that Islam doesn't require the practice but at least permit it.
1.18.2007 7:34pm
PersonFromPorlock:

Hmmm? The First Amendment guarantees that Congress may not interfere with the free exercise of religion.

Actually, no. It says "the free exercise thereof" and the only possible referent for "thereof" is "establishments of religion." The plain meaning of the First Amendment is that the federal government can't establish a national religion or interfere with the several states' established religions. It's the same way the Second Amendment protects a state's right to maintain a militia without recognizing an individual right to keep and bear arms. :p

Being serious for a moment, we do interfere with religious practices all the time so it's really hard to argue that religion is untouchable; and to say that we only interfere with the practice but not the religion is a transparent sophistry.
1.18.2007 7:37pm
AndersK (mail):


the estimable Cramer's assumption that FGM is somehow 'Islamic' when it is, in fact, cultural and practiced by Muslims, Christians, and animists across
Africa).


It's not relevant to the Free Exercise issue whether a sincerely
held belief is widespread among members of a denomination. If a Muslim sincerely believes that FGM is required by his religion, and he happens to live in a state granting legal protection even against incidental burdens on the exercise of religion, courts couldn't reject his claim alone on the basis that the practice of female genital mutilation were not widespread among Muslims.
1.18.2007 7:47pm
Jerry Beilinson (mail):
Lots of great comments here on the First Amendment. One additional point to make is that I don't think the substance of the complaint is true. Jewish organizations, rabbis, writers, etc., really don't demonize Islam. They usually talk about dialogue, about human rights for Moslems as for others, about peace and mutual respect. In fact, Jews as a group have probably distorted reality a bit in an effort to see Islam as more welcoming of diversity and more opposed to anti-Semitism than it actually is. You'd be hard pressed to find any popular Jewish voices, here or overseas, engaged in anti-Moslem rhetoric parallel to the bigoted anti-Jewish invective that is mainstream in the Islamic world.
1.18.2007 8:57pm
happy ruthy (www):
Methinks Ms. el Fattah has a major case of projection and denial.

I just hope the DOJ doesn't take the bait here.
1.18.2007 10:18pm
Lev:

Good point, however I think it is fair to ask CAIR why a group who by it's very name suggests that they are interested in American-Islamic relations would have on its board someone who thinks of the United States as the "common enemy" of Muslims?


Because the US is not an Islamic Republic, is not an Islamic nation, it is the common enemy of Muslims and Muslim nations.
1.19.2007 12:21am
OK Lawyer:
I can't be the only one who is absolutely sick of the tolerance movement. The whole entire set of thinking that tries to protect everyone from being offended. It started way back when someone schmuck wanted to sound more important than he was, so he gave himself some goofy title. Companies do it all the time now. No raise, but now you are the executive waste disposal technician in charge of office hygiene. Sorry, you still pick up trash. No shame in that. The whole thing is stupid, dangerous, and a form of lying.

George Carlin has a routine about the change in terminology from shellshock to post traumatic stress disorder. Now, it's even PTSD. Doesn't sound too bad. It is, and soldiers don't get the help they need. And I bet, if it was still shell shock, they would. "Shock" sounds bad. "Disorder" sounds like a teenage girl who won't eat. (here come the anorexia police)

This is a prime example of that thinking. This is coming back to bite the language police. I hope the bite is large and bloody.
1.19.2007 10:42am
Dan S:
Someone should substitute "Islamic" for "Jewish," and replace a few other words appropriately, and file it simply to make a point. Eg:

1. Islamic organizations and activists have created an "enemies" list that includes Jews, Christians and all non-believer organizations here in the US. This list is compromised of individuals and groups that are deemed threats or enemies of the Caliphate to be.

2. These organizations have used their financial resources and also their formidable political influence to purposefully poison public opinion against Jews, Christians and all non-believers in an attempt to demonize and vilify the same for political purposes, and to create an environment conducive to the deprivation of and denial of Christian and Jewish constitutional rights and repression of religious freedoms in respect to non-Islamic religions.
1.19.2007 10:43am
magoo (mail):
From CAIR's website:

"The Washington Field Office of the FBI praises CAIR's dedication in representing the heart of the Muslim American community." -Congratulatory letter from the Washington Field Office of the FBI

"Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the Los Angeles FBI has worked closely with CAIR, and a multitude of other community based organizations, to develop and foster relationships that encourage an open exchange of ideas and concerns relative to the FBI's mission. In order to prevent another act of terrorism from occurring on American soil, government agencies and communities must work together, and the FBI is extremely pleased to be partners with CAIR, and the other members of the Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee, in pursuing this mission." -J. Stephen Tidwell, Assistant Director in Charge, Los Angeles Field Office of the FBI

"I wanted to say that we really appreciate the effort of Ahmed Bedier [Executive Director, CAIR-Tampa] here in Florida and all the good work that he does on behalf of CAIR in the community in the area of civil rights…Mr. Bedier has done a great job in reaching out to law enforcement, establishing open forums for us to exchange information in order to keep the nation safe." -Carl Whitehead, Special Agent in Charge, Tampa Bay Field Office of the FBI, speaking at the CAIR 2006 Tampa Banquet

"I'm glad that you have established such a strong voice in the community and that you are working to maintain a strong sense of cultural and economic identity." -Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. (R)

"I would like to salute the Ohio chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations as well as the national office for their support and sponsorship of this annual event [Islamic Day] and for contributing to the diversity of the state of Ohio." -Ohio Governor Bob Taft (R)

"Throughout its decade of existence, CAIR-LA has been instrumental in promoting cultural and religious understanding of the Muslim community. I am pleased that CAIR-LA has dedicated their efforts to building coalitions between non-Muslim and Muslim communities in an effort to eliminate stereotypes and promote tolerance, compassion and understanding. I commend CAIR-LA for playing a vital role in the integration of the Muslim community into American society in an effort to promote patriotism and pride in their home country. I look forward to a continued partnership with CAIR-LA as we strive for freedom and understanding among all who call America home."
-Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA)

"It is important that we recognize the many positive contributions Muslim Americans continue to make in our communities."-Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA)

"I applaud your efforts in educating and enhancing understanding through open dialogue." -Rep. Wayne T Gilchrest (R-MD)

"CAIR-Ohio is committed to educating the public and public officials on important Muslim values such as emphasis on strong families, improving neighborhoods and protecting the civil liberties of all residents so that there may be greater harmony and a better America." -Columbus, Ohio City Council


"Thank you for the letter of 8 July expressing condolences on behalf of the Council on American-Islamic Relations following the London bombings. I also want to say how grateful I was for the visit to the Embassy on 8 July by Dr Parvez Ahmed, Chairman of the Board, and colleagues from both CAIR and Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center."-Ambassador David Manning, British Embassy in Washington, DC

"...I have been informed that the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Tampa has made a contribution to be sent to assist those Christian churches in the Holy Land, which have suffered damage as a result of the anger aroused by the Holy Father's talk. This is a very magnanimous gesture on the part of genuine believers..."
-Bishop Robert Lynch, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Petersburg in Florida
1.19.2007 11:01am
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ M. Simon:

> Never heard of a Jewish cab driver
> refusing a fare because of a ham sandwich.

It was a joke. Get a clue.

> How do you prevent people with a**holes
> from defacating in a cab?

Just like you manage alcohol! You only pick up people without assholes.

Oh, wait a minute, those are NOT EVEN REMOTELY COMPARABLE, are they?

Man, you are just bound and determined to blow the top off the retard-o-meter.

@ Christopher Fotos:

> the Somalis lodging the objection

I'm objecting to the requirement that ALL cab drivers must essentially ignore a potential fare's possession of alcohol. Cab drivers take a much greater risk than most business operators. A certain degree of latitude should be afforded them that might be unconscionable for another business.

And it is one thing to suggest that you have the right to buy and consume alcohol, but it is quite another to suggest that you have the right to bring it into my place of business. Movie theatres won't let you bring a six-pack into the auditorium. Bowling alleys won't let you bring in a bottle of Wild Turkey. Hell, I can't let passengers in my own private car drink alcohol. The law actually forbids all of these things. So why exactly does the cab driver HAVE to let people bring alcohol into his car?

This reminds me an awful lot of the people who complained that Jewish business owner who close on the Sabbath are guilty of religious discrimination against their non-Jewish customers.

@ clazy:

> The formulation American-Whatever
> relations indicates a dichotomy, not
> a subset.

If you can tell that any given American is or is not "whatever" with any significant degree of accuracy, then a dichotomy exists. Most Americans believe they can identify Islamic people on sight. It wasn't that long ago when they believed the same of Jews.

@ Michelle Dulak Thompson:

> "Islamic" is no more a proxy for
> "racial kinship" than is "Catholic."

Tell that to the guy whose parents emigrated from a country that is largely Muslim. Even if he is not a Muslim and his parents are not Muslims, he will be treated like a Muslim anyway... because he looks like one. And if you can LOOK LIKE a Muslim, there's a nontrivial genetic similarity.

It's not simple ignorance, either. Muslims will also treat him like he's a Muslim, and then be surprised and offended when he reveals that he's not one.
1.19.2007 12:20pm
Yankev (mail):
JK, I assume you were joking, but rest assured there ARE Jewish cab drivers. I have known several personally. There are also Jewish laborers, auto mechanics, pest exterminators, carpet installers, and contractors. We are not all professionals, nor are we all rich or even all making a living.

Caliban

I think that may be an agenda on which the Muslims and Jews could actually agree.


Wrong. Nothing in the Jewish religion prohibits non-Jews from eating, raising or otherwise dealing with pork. It is not a moral issue. Judaism prohibits pork to Jews only. And whereas Islam (if I understand correctly) teaches that everyone should become Muslim, the Jewish religion teaches that righteous non-Jews -- i.e. non-Jews who observe the 7 Noahide commandments -- have a share in the world to come. A non-Jew who eats pork still goes to paradise if he lives in a community with impartial official courts and laws, does not murder, does not steal, does not commit adultery or incest or male sodomy, does not worship false gods, does not curse God, and does not eat meat that was severed from a living animal (i.e the animal must be dead before the meat is cut from it).
1.19.2007 2:00pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

As some of the comments above show, there's useful work to be done in trying to convince people that Islam is something other than gross stereotypes (E.g. the estimable Cramer's assumption that FGM is somehow 'Islamic' when it is, in fact, cultural and practiced by Muslims, Christians, and animists across Africa).
Oddly enough, while I have repeatedly seen this claim, that it isn't tied to Islam (and not all Muslims do FGM), all the writing that I have ever seen about FGM seems to come out of Muslim societies such as Egypt and Somalia. Why is that?

You are rather proving my point, however, about how the left goes out of its way to defend Islam.
1.19.2007 3:07pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Caliban Darklock,

Tell that to the guy whose parents emigrated from a country that is largely Muslim. Even if he is not a Muslim and his parents are not Muslims, he will be treated like a Muslim anyway... because he looks like one. And if you can LOOK LIKE a Muslim, there's a nontrivial genetic similarity.

It's not simple ignorance, either. Muslims will also treat him like he's a Muslim, and then be surprised and offended when he reveals that he's not one.

I don't think it's nearly as simple as that. The largest population of Muslims in a single country is in Indonesia, where Muslims are also an overwhelming majority of the population. Do Americans look at people of Indonesian descent and think "Yep, Muslim"? Of course not.

Cheap shot, I admit, because there are (AFAIK) very few Indonesian-Americans. But there are quite a lot of first- and second- and third-generation citizens here from the Indian subcontinent, and if you are right, they ought all to be taken to be Muslims at first glance. India itself is about a sixth Muslim, and Pakistan and Bangladesh are almost entirely Muslim, and the "genetic similarity" among those three nations ought to be damn strong, considering how they were created.

What you actually mean by "looking like a Muslim," I think, is being swarthy and wearing a beard. To certain dimwitted bigots that is indeed sufficient evidence, and if you throw in wearing a turban, said dimwits will upgrade it to a certainty. (This is why, IIRC, a significant fraction of the post-9/11 hate crimes against Muslims were in fact carried out against Sikhs.) But if physiognomy were all there was to it, wouldn't any woman whose parents were from a majority-Muslim nation also "look like a Muslim"? As a matter of fact no one will make that assumption unless she's also wearing a head-scarf.
1.19.2007 3:32pm
JerryM (mail):
I was with a Jewish friend who puked in a cab. There was definitely alcohol in there. We were in Miami and I cannot remember if the cabbie was Muslim. I know he wasn't happy. Twas a great night!!
1.19.2007 4:21pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
Michelle Dulak Thompson:

The people of Indonesia are CULTURALLY Islamic, not RACIALLY Islamic. Just like Malcolm X was RELIGIOUSLY Islamic. Equivocation of these distinctions is fallacious.
1.19.2007 7:03pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Caliban Darklock,

The people of Indonesia are CULTURALLY Islamic, not RACIALLY Islamic. Just like Malcolm X was RELIGIOUSLY Islamic. Equivocation of these distinctions is fallacious.

Whereas the people of Bangladesh are — which, exactly?
1.19.2007 7:19pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
The people of Indonesia are CULTURALLY Islamic, not RACIALLY Islamic. Just like Malcolm X was RELIGIOUSLY Islamic. Equivocation of these distinctions is fallacious.
Caliban, that statement is gibberish. If you don't know the difference between Arab and Muslim just say so.
1.19.2007 9:28pm
Lev:
Would some highly intelligent and informed person kindly describe the typical characteristics of the Islamic race.
1.19.2007 11:08pm
Andrew Ian Dodge (mail) (www):
This is just like what happened during the Toonifada. Muslim leaders could not understand why governments in West refused to curtail their citizens freedom of speech about Islam. They just could not fathom the concept that there was no way for these governments to prevent the publishing and the discussion of the cartoons.

In the UK some of them have basically said: if you don't shut the up about Mohammad...we will.
1.20.2007 9:41am
Mark Oller (mail):
The biggest censors are the American journalists. According to Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, by Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, the more liberal Hebrew language newspapers in Israel frequently refer to "Jewish Khomeiniism and even Jewish Naziism," and the reactionary religious press amply confirms this description. Such ideas are unthinkable in the mainstream American press, however.
The writings of the late Israel Shahak, Norton Mezvinsky and others are available online at Alabaster's Archive. Since this is an Israeli website, it says what Americans are essentially forbidden to say.
1.20.2007 10:26am
RFJ (mail):
Alabaster's Archive is an ultra-anti-semitic website.
1.21.2007 8:01pm
Mark Oller (mail):
It is only necessary to resort to ad-hominems, if one lacks genuine arguments. And incidentally, Israel Shahak survived Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and lived in what is now Israel from 1945 until his death in 2001. So, even Norman Podhoretz could not label Mr. Shahak an anti-Semitic liar without seeming like one himself.
1.22.2007 2:03pm