Islam and Muslims - Facts and Fiction

-- Dr. Laura rebuked for 'anti-Muslim tirade'  - 11/20/03
-- FBI invites Muslim scholars to preach - 07/30/03
-- Feds accused of 'siege' on American Muslims - 7/15/03
-- Muslim-rights voice indicted in jihad plot - 7/09/03
-- Americans charged in 'holy-war' plot - 6/27/03
-- Muslims grooming candidates for 2004 - 5/20/03
-- Should Muslim Quran be USA's top authority? - 5/01/03
-- Party official censured for 'Islamophobia' - 4/30/03


 Dr. Laura rebuked for 'anti-Muslim tirade'

Controversial Islamic group demands apology from radio counselor

Posted: November 20, 2003      By Art Moore

A controversial Islamic lobby group is demanding an apology from radio counselor Dr. Laura Schlessinger for an alleged "anti-Muslim tirade" on her program this week.
Schlessinger, whose coast-to-coast show is heard by 12 million listeners, "crossed the line from legitimate commentary on terrorism to Islamophobic bigotry," charges the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger

The comments, on Monday's program, came in response to a mother who asked whether her 16-year-old daughter should take part in a Catholic high school class's field trip to a local mosque. The visit was part of a "moral themes" class that aimed to help students learn how "Muslims are treated" in the United States.

Schlessinger, a WND columnist, replied to the mother:

"This is a class on morals. What is the point of going to a mosque? ... You're joking of course. How many Americans have tortured and murdered Muslims. I think you ought to stand up against this class and this teacher. This is despicable. You tell him you are willing to go to the mosque only if it is one that has done its best to rout out terrorists in its midst. Instead of complaining.

"I am horrified that you would let her go. I am so sick and tired of all the Arab-American groups whining and complaining about some kind of treatment. What culture and what religion were all the murderers of 9-11? They murdered us. That's the culture you want your daughter to learn about?"

Schlessinger's producer, Keven Bellows, told WorldNetDaily the radio host is formulating a response but cannot comment at the moment.


In a statement, CAIR said last year it asked Schlessinger to clarify her claim there is a  "Muslim plan" to take over the world.

 "When Schlessinger's extremist views have been confronted in the past, she has often  responded by attacking the source of the challenge, instead of dealing with the substance  of the complaints," CAIR said.

 The group's communications director, Ibrahim Hooper, said "Dr. Laura's anti-Muslim tirade  demonstrates a level of hostility toward Islam that should be of concern to her program's  audience and sponsors."

 "It has been our experience that one-on-one interactions with ordinary American Muslims  are the best way to dispel Islamophobic stereotypes and promote religious tolerance,"  Hooper said. "It is a pity that Dr. Laura would interfere with that learning process by  dissuading a student from visiting a mosque."

 However, CAIR itself has helped cast doubt on Muslim groups that purport to be  mainstream promoters of peace and tolerance.

 CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association For Palestine, or IAF, identified as a "front  group" for the terrorist organization Hamas, according to two former heads of the FBI's  counterterrorism section.

 In July, a member of CAIR's national staff, Randall Todd "Ismail" Royer, was among 11 men  indicted for conspiring to train on American soil for a "violent jihad." Another CAIR figure,  Bassem Khafagi, was arrested in January while serving as the group's director of community  relations.

 CAIR's leaders also have provided evidence for claims Muslims have a plan for domination.

 As WorldNetDaily reported, CAIR's chairman of the board, Omar Ahmad, was cited by a  California newspaper in 1998 declaring the Quran should be America's highest authority.

 He also was reported to have said Islam is not in America to be equal to any other religion  but to be dominant.

 Hooper himself indicated in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he  wants to see the United States become a Muslim country.

 "I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United  States to be Islamic sometime in the future," Hooper told the paper. "But I'm not going to  do anything violent to promote that. I'm going to do it through education."

 In addition, CAIR has sought to convey the impression Muslims are under siege in America.  A report released this year, titled "Guilt by Association," blasted the Bush administration for  government policies that unfairly single out Muslim individuals and organizations" a charge  denied by the Justice Department.

 CAIR claimed when compared to the year preceding Sept. 11, its 2002 report on bias or  hate-related incidents against Muslims showed a 64 percent increase.

 Justice Department spokesman Jorge Martinez told WorldNetDaily, on the contrary, he sees  a vastly improving situation in "backlash" incidents since a "spike" in the aftermath of the  Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

 FBI invites Muslim scholars to preach


New Islamic sensitivity training program required of federal agents, new recruits

 Posted: July 30, 2003 By Paul Sperry 2003

 WASHINGTON Even as the FBI takes new heat over the 9-11 report's revelation that it  overlooked ties between a Muslim cleric and two of the al-Qaida hijackers, it is putting  agents and new recruits through a Muslim sensitivity program that includes inviting Muslim  clerics and leaders to preach about the allegedly peaceful attributes of Islam.

 National Arab-American and Muslim leaders have made presentations at an FBI training  course on civil rights here, and at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Va., as part of  "Enrichment Training Sessions" for new special agents there.

 In addition, the imam of a large Manhattan mosque has lectured veteran counterterrorism  investigators at the FBI's New York field office about misinterpretation of the meaning of  jihad in the Koran, the sacred book of Muslims.

 The sensitivity training program, denounced by some active and former agents, was  mandated last year by FBI Director Robert Mueller.

 Robert Mueller

 FBI headquarters defends the program as a way to reach out to the Muslim community in  America.

 "I hate the word 'sensitivity' training," said FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell. "I would call it an  awareness training relative to cultural issues."

 Mueller, who also served in the previous Bush administration, has met several times with  Arab and Muslim groups since the Sept. 11 attacks. He even agreed to be the keynote  speaker at last year's American Muslim Council conference here a move that drew fire  from AMC critics, who note the group has sung the praises of Islamic terrorist groups,  including Hamas and Hezbollah.

 "Mueller should lead the FBI in this war, and leave the sensitivity sessions to the human  resources department or CNN," complained retired FBI special agent Don Lavey, who served  20 years in the bureau's counterterrorism unit.

 "Let's just hope the director is leading the charge in this war against terrorism with an  equal amount of zeal that he shows for cultural sensitivities," added Lavey, who claims  Mueller is so politically correct he refuses to use "Islamic" and "terrorism" in the same  sentence.

 Last October, the FBI invited the head of an influential Arab-American advocacy group to  speak to about 400 new agents in the auditorium of the FBI Academy. The lecture by Dr.  Ziad Asali, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, was mandatory  and lasted about one hour.

 Asali, a Palestinian refugee, "talked about how peaceful their religion is, and how not to  offend Muslims ... showing respect for their culture, things like that," said FBI Academy  spokesman Kirk Crawford.

 And at least four times this year, the FBI's New York field office has held all-day sensitivity  training sessions, not far from Ground Zero, featuring Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Masjid  al-Farah mosque.

 Speaking for about two hours each session, "he gave an overview of Islamic culture and  some of the differences between what fundamentalist terrorist groups say are the  teachings of the Koran and what he believes, as a student of religion, the Koran actually  says," said special agent James Margolin, spokesman for the FBI New York office.

 Rauf asserted that the Koran "certainly doesn't counsel terrorism, murder or mayhem,"  Margolin said. And he said terrorists have misinterpreted the Koranic term jihad to mean  violent, or armed, struggle against nonbelievers. Rauf claims it means internal struggle.

 The rest of the training sessions were conducted by a Muslim FBI agent born in Pakistan.  Foria Younis, who works for the Joint Terrorism Task Force, advised fellow agents to  respect Muslims by honoring their religious and cultural customs.

 For instance, she said they should refrain from showing a Muslim the soles of their shoes,  which is a sign of disrespect, Margolin says.

 "I learned at that session that if you cross your legs and show the sole of your shoe to a  Muslim person during a conversation, that is an offense. It's a sign of disrespect," he said.

 Some former colleagues of the late FBI agent John O'Neill say the legendary al-Qaida  hunter would probably roll over in his grave if he knew about the Muslim sensitivity program  required at his old New York office, where he headed counterterrorism operations last  decade.

 "This would not have been an issue high on his priority list," said Ivian Smith, a retired FBI  manager who worked in counterintelligence at bureau headquarters here.

 "He would not have been interested in improving the cultural awareness of a bunch of FBI  agents. He would have considered it a waste of time," Smith said. "And knowing John, he  would have probably figured out a way to avoid going to the meetings."

 "He was no-nonsense," he added, "brutally focused on al-Qaida."

 Still, Smith allows that the cultural training could be beneficial to investigators if designed  to help agents improve their field interviewing and interrogation techniques to gain the  cooperation of Muslim witnesses and suspects.

 Margolin says that's certainly one of the goals of the program.

 For example, he notes, agents also are taught to respect the dietary restrictions of devout  Muslims. So-called halal dietary laws require their meat be butchered in a certain way.  Also, they cannot eat pork or pork byproducts.

 "So if you're attempting to be accommodating to a religious Muslim you're interviewing or  someone you may have arrested, and you say, 'Gee, I'll run across the street and get you  something to eat; you know, you haven't eaten in six hours,' you don't get them a  cheeseburger and you definitely don't get them a bacon cheeseburger," Margolin said.

 "That would be taken as an offense, when in fact what you're trying to do is maybe open  some channels of communication," he added.

 The same concerns apply to showing a Muslim witness or suspect the sole of you shoe, he  says.

 But Lavey insists the program's main objective is political: Mollifying vocal Arab-American  and Muslim interest groups.

 He says Mueller is so worried about offending American Muslims that he's loath to even  describe the most serious terrorist threat against America as "Islamic."

 "There's a continued reluctance on the part of the entire FBI to ever use Islamic and  terrorism in the same sentence," he said.

 Indeed, a search of transcripts of Mueller's congressional testimonies and public speeches  turns up no examples of him using the phrase "Islamic terrorism" or "Islamic terrorists,"  although he has used the phrase "militant Islamic groups." He typically describes terrorism  in generic terms, such as "international terrorism."

 Margolin of the New York office also avoided using the term "Islamic terrorists," opting  instead for "fundamentalist terrorist groups," in a lengthy interview with WorldNetDaily.

 Though bureau spokesman Cogswell admits political correctness "can get out of hand" in  Washington, he insists there's no bureau-wide "edict" against describing terrorism or  terrorists as "Islamic."

 Lavey and others fear Muslim leaders are teaching FBI agents the PC, sanitized version of  the Koran in the interest of mainstreaming Islam. The message agents are hearing is that  Muslim terrorists have misinterpreted the Koran, and that devout Muslims in America don't  sympathize with them, even though the Koran is replete with instructions exhorting the  Muslim faithful to fight, even slay, the "unbelievers" in the cause of Allah. Unbelievers  include Christians and Jews.

 If agents go into investigations with the assumption that American Muslims don't believe  what al-Qaida terrorists believe and don't sympathize with their cause, they may be easily  snowed by Muslim suspects, witnesses and informants, Lavey and others argue.

 Agents may also be less inclined to investigate Muslim clerics and scholars themselves,  even though some preaching in this country have been tied to Islamic terrorists.

 For example, the 900-page report on 9-11 intelligence failures released last week took the  FBI to task for failing to pursue leads back to a local imam involved with two of the  al-Qaida hijackers who helped crash an American Airlines jumbo jet into the Pentagon.

 Khalid Almidhhar and Nawaf Alhazmi were close to the imam, Anwar Awlaki. He and the  hijackers moved from San Diego to Falls Church, Va., where they joined the Dar al-Hijrah  mosque. A phone number for the mosque was found in the German apartment of Ramzi  Binalshibh, roommate of hijacking ringleader Mohamed Atta.

 Margolin, for his part, says he's inclined to accept the New York imam's interpretation of  the Koran, even though he admits he hasn't read any of it himself.

 "I haven't read the text," he said. "But even in Judaism and Christianity, there are portions  of the Old and New Testament that are open to interpretation, and people who are  politically left or politically right use the Bible as the authority for their positions."

 And besides, he adds, the bureau's job is to investigate criminal acts of violence that have  been committed, not instructions for violence that may or may not be directed by a religion  against those who do not believe in that religion.

 "While what the Koran actually says is not insignificant, what we're ultimately concerned  with is criminality," Margolin said.

 Kevin Donovan, director of the FBI's New York office, is overseeing the Islam lecture series,  mandatory for the city's 1,100 agents.

 Feds accused of 'siege' on American Muslims

Islamic-rights group's report asserts Justice targets citizens based on religion

Posted: July 15, 2003      By Art Moore

 A report by a leading Islamic lobby group accuses the U.S. Justice Department of targeting  Arabs and Muslims amid a rise in "Islamophobic" rhetoric, violence, discrimination and  harassment in the United States.  The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations said "the Department of  Justice has continued to take actions in the name of combating terrorism, when in fact  they have targeted broadly Arabs and Muslims in this country."

 The report released today, titled "Guilt by Association," commended the Bush administration  for reaching out to Muslims in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but the report  said "since that initial period of support a number of government policies have singled out  Muslim individuals and organizations."

 That charge is unfounded, Justice Department spokesman Jorge Martinez told  WorldNetDaily.

 "We have never used race or religion as a criterion, and to say that is irresponsible by  people who don't understand, or who don't have access to the intelligence criteria we  use," he said.

 Martinez emphasized that "in the days after Sept. 11, it became clear to the U.S.  government that we had to radically improve our border control and security."

 "The bottom line is we are doing everything we can within the boundaries of the  Constitution to protect the American people," he said.

 Mohamed Nimer, CAIR's research director, contended a government approach of "guilt by  association" has "created a sense of siege in the American Muslim community."

 "Along with an increase in the number of bias-related incidents and experiences, we have  also witnessed the negative results produced by government policies that target ordinary  Americans based on religion, ethnicity or national origin," he said.

 Martinez insisted the opposite is true.

 He argued the DOJ has opened 500 cases of alleged incidents of "backlash crimes" and has  made 13 federal prosecutions, with a 100 percent conviction rate, against people who  harmed individuals who appeared to be Middle Eastern or Muslim.

 That includes, he pointed out, threats against James Zogby of the Arab American Institute,  which led to a conviction.

 "To throw out charges of such a serious nature without substantiating facts is  irresponsible," he said.

 Terror probes

 CAIR cited among its examples the Sept. 11 probe in 2002 that required special registration  for students and visitors from Muslim-majority countries and the cases brought against  three U.S.-based Muslim charities.

 Martinez, noting visitors from 162 countries were required to register, said the  department's actions were based not on race or religion but on intelligence data.

 "All these measures are based on intelligence-based criteria that tells us about the terrorist  threat to the national security of this country," he said.

 Last month, a federal appeals court ruled the Treasury Department had "ample" evidence  to shut down Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, which is accused of funding the Hamas  terrorist organization.

 CAIR itself has been linked to Hamas. The group is a spin-off of the Islamic Association For  Palestine, or IAF, identified as a "front group" for Hamas, according to two former heads of  the FBI's counterterrorism section. Former chief Oliver Revell has called the IAF "a front  organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants."

 The probe against the Holy Land Foundation actually began before Sept. 11, 2001.

 In March 1996, then-U.S. Rep. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called for a federal investigation  into allegations of Holy Land's financial ties with Hamas. At that time, Schumer, now a U.S.  senator, also sponsored legislation to outlaw domestic fund raising for foreign terrorist  organizations.

 In December, a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the Treasury  Department had appropriately moved against Illinois-based Global Relief Foundation. The  Syrian-born director of another Illinois-based charity that has been shut down,  Benevolence International Foundation, pleaded guilty in February to racketeering charges  but did not admit any connection to Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida.

 On the increase?

 CAIR said it has seen a 15 percent rise in reports of discrimination over the past year,  counting 602 incidents turned in to its office. It began documenting anti-Muslim incidents  following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

 In Florida last year, for example, CAIR said, a man rammed his truck into the Islamic Center  of Tallahassee and in Massachusetts, a school bus belonging to the Islamic Academy of  Peace was torched.

 The Muslim group said when compared to the year preceding Sept. 11, this year's reports  show a 64 percent increase.

 Martinez said, on the contrary, he sees an improving situation, based on reported  "backlash" incidents.

 "I think you saw a spike in these types of cases post-Sept. 11, but that spike has gone  down dramatically," he said. "It doesn't mean it won't happen again, but I can assure you,  the Department of Justice is 100-percent committed to seeking to investigation and  prosecute any forms of discrimination."

 Some of those incidents in 2002, CAIR said, were of "police profiling" of Muslims who were  questioned going about their daily activities, such as walking on public roads. Along with  religious and ethnic profiling, the group said, workplace discrimination was one of the  largest categories of complaints.

 "The fallout from September 11 continues to impact Muslim daily life, whether at schools, in  the workplace or in general public encounters," CAIR said in a summary of its report.  "Mistreatment at the hand of federal government personnel continues to be reported in  substantial numbers. FBI agents and other local law enforcement authorities have  sometimes responded to hearsay reports, and conducted questionable raids and  interrogations."

 'Islamophobic rhetoric'

 CAIR said today's report outlines "the increase in Islamophobic rhetoric by evangelical  leaders such as Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson."

 Earlier this year, a local CAIR leader used the report of a mob attack in Yorba Linda, Calif.,  to tie such rhetoric to violence but did not explain how the connection was made.

 In the Feb. 22 incident, 20 young assailants with knives and baseball bats brutally beat an  18-year-old Arab man as they shouted obscenities and religious epithets.

 "We believe this recent increase in attacks on American Muslims is a direct result of the  barrage of pro-war and anti-Islam rhetoric coming from right-wing and evangelical leaders,"  said Hussam Ayloush, director of CAIR's Los Angeles chapter

 Muslim-rights voice indicted in jihad plot


Ex-CAIR rep with group tied to al-Qaida, attorney also serves as lawyer for Hamas

 Posted: July 9, 2003 2003

 A former spokesman for leading Islamic lobby groups opposed to U.S. counterterrorism  efforts was among 11 men indicted for conspiring to train on American soil for a "violent  jihad."  Randall Todd "Ismail" Royer who little more than five weeks ago was communications  director for a fund-raising effort sponsored by the American Muslim Council allegedly  trained with Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Kashmiri terrorist group with reported ties to al-Qaida.

 Royer, 30, of Falls Church, Va., also was on the national staff of the Council on  American-Islamic Relations, a group that considers itself a leading civil rights voice for  American Muslims.

 Most recently, he was a spokesman for the National Liberty Fund, which is defending Sami  al-Arian, the Florida professor in federal custody as an alleged leader of the Palestinian  Islamic Jihad, according to the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C.

 The National Liberty Fund says it is combating the Justice Department's "opportunistic and  politically motivated prosecutions."

 The federal indictment, issued June 27, contends Royer traveled to Pakistan, engaged in  propaganda work for Lashkar-e-Taiba and "fired at Indian positions in Kashmir." The  charges also allege in September 2001, he "possessed in his automobile an AK-47-style rifle  and 219 rounds of ammunition."

 "A legal support structure for the terrorist front network in America is emerging," the  Center for Security Policy asserts, noting Royer's defense lawyer, Stanley Cohen, also is an  attorney for the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.

 CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association For Palestine, identified as a "front group" for  Hamas, according to Steve Pomerantz, former chief of the FBI's counterterrorism section.

 Another ex-FBI counterterrorism chief, Oliver "Buck" Revell, has called the Islamic  Association For Palestine "a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for  Islamic militants."

 In addition, Cohen's law partner, Lynne Stewart, is awaiting trial on federal charges that  she served as a courier for Omar Abdel Rahman, the "blind sheik" convicted of  masterminding the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.

 The center points out the Muslim groups for which Royer worked have pushed to repeal a  law allowing terrorism-hunters to use classified information in the process of prosecuting  and deporting foreign terror suspects.

 Allegations denied

 Royer characterized the allegations against him as baseless during an interview with the  Washington Post. He dismissed the discovery of pistols and rifles inside the homes of some  group members as insignificant.

 "Ooooh, gosh, they have weapons," Royer said. "I really resent the idea that a Muslim with  a gun he's a threat. A Jew with a gun he's not a threat."

 In a brief description of Royer on Islam Online, he was identified as a communications  specialist for CAIR, where he had worked in "research and civil rights since 1997."

 The site said he formerly wrote investigative pieces on "anti-Muslim organizations" for an  online newssite called, where he served as Washington bureau chief. Islam  Online said he wrote a story designated one of the "Most Censored Press Releases of 1999"  by Timothy McSweeney's, a literary journal.

 One of CAIR's chief targets of criticism is Daniel Pipes, director of the Philadelphia-based  think tank Middle East Forum,

 In a weblog Royer ran, dated Sept. 17, 2002, he called Pipes a "pop bigot" and responded  to the scholar's New York Post article about militant Islamic influence on American  campuses with the following comment: "[Pipes] has served up another steaming shovelful  of fertilizer. What a joy it is to read this guy. His stuff requires no real effort to  deconstruct, no deliberate propaganda analysis to realize how he intends to deceive the  reader."

 Royer is the second CAIR figure to be arrested this year. Bassem Khafagi was the group's  director of community relations before his arrest in January. Also, Siraj Wahhaj, a member  of CAIR's advisory board, was named as one of the "unindicted persons who may be alleged  as co-conspirators" in the attempt to blow up New York City monuments in the early  1990s.

 'Danger to community'?

 Yesterday, a federal judge said she is inclined to free Royer while he awaits his November  trial but delayed her decision to learn more about the case, the Associated Press reported.

 Prosecutors argue Royer is a danger to the community because of connections between  Lashkar and al-Qaida and should be held until his trial. Last week, however, a magistrate  judge ordered his release, prompting prosecutors to appeal the decision yesterday to U.S.  District Judge Leonie Brinkema.

 Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg pointed out the spiritual leader of the Virginia  network, Ali al-Timimi, called the United States the greatest enemy of Islam.

 Royer's lawyer Cohen insists no evidence exists to show Royer had any hostile intent  toward the United States.

 He argues Royer's writings and statements as spokesman for various Islamic groups  denounce al-Qaida and violence against the United States.

 "The government keeps talking about al-Qaida," Cohen said, according to the AP. "They've  been looking at [Royer] for at least a year and there's not a connection there."

 Cohen acknowledged Royer fought in Bosnia with Muslim groups in the mid-1990s, but  argued it was not illegal to do so.

 Eight of the 11 men charged have been arrested. All have pleaded innocent.

 Americans charged in 'holy-war' plot

Accused of conspiring to train on U.S. soil for battle overseas

Posted: June 27, 2003


Nine Americans were among 11 men charged today with conspiring to train on U.S. soil for  a "violent jihad" overseas.  According to an indictment issued by the federal government, the men belong to the  Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, or "Army of the Righteous," which seeks to drive  India out of the disputed Kashmir province, Fox News reported.

 "These indictments are a stark reminder that terrorist organizations of various allegiances  are active in the United States and these groups exploit America's freedom as a weapon to  recruit and position themselves on our shores, in our society," U.S. Attorney Paul J.  McNulty told reporters.

 The Islamic group is on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations. India, which  is in a conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir, accuses the group of launching suicide attacks  against officials and civilians in the province.

 After the Sept. 11 attacks, said McNulty, "Virginia jihad network members were told that it  was time to engage in violent jihad."

 One suspect, Ahmed Abu-Ali, is being held in Saudi Arabia by officials probing the May 12  bombings in Riyadh that killed nine attackers and 25 other people.

 In preparation for its jihad, the group trained from early 2000 through last May in the  Maryland and Virginia suburbs of Washington and in St. Louis, Mo., the indictment said. It  also trained in small-unit military tactics near Fredericksburg, Va., using AK-47 assault rifles  and other firearms, Fox News reported.

 The FBI said on its website the defendants also were harboring various documents,  including a copy of the "Terrorist Handbook," featuring information on the manufacturing of  explosives and related weaponry.

 In the group's combat simulations in northern Virginia, it also used toys to fire paintballs,  according to the Washington Post.

 The report said members of the group attended lectures given by a Muslim scholar whose  home was searched along with the suspects by U.S. authorities looking for evidence of  militant or terrorist activities.

 Muslims grooming candidates for 2004

Islamic group on nationwide tour to urge political participation

Posted: May 20, 2003


A leading Islamic lobby group is on a nationwide tour to introduce Muslims to American  politics.  Building an influential voting bloc for the 2004 elections and eventually seeing Muslim  candidates on ballots for everything from city council to congressional seats are two aims  of the Virginia-based Muslim American Society, the St. Paul Pioneer press reported.

 The MAS also wants to increase campaign donations for politicians who have represented  Muslim interests, including civil-rights protections and immigrant issues.

 On Saturday, MAS will lead a civil rights march and rally in Washington, D.C., it touts as  the largest gathering of Muslims ever in the nation's capital.

 Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, American Muslims, who traditionally focused on  foreign policy, increasingly have made domestic policy their biggest concern, the St. Paul  paper said. At a day-long workshop last Saturday in Inver Grove Heights, Minn.,  participants discussed issues such as mosque expansions, Islamic slaughterhouses and  racial profiling.

 The workshop turned 60 eager participants into lobbyists and, possibly, potential  candidates, the Pioneer Press said.

 "It's not just talking about issues that affect Muslims," workshop organizer Jessi Frenzel  told the paper. "It's our duty as American residents to speak up on a lot of issues. To be a  good citizen is to be a good Muslim."

 Frenzel said he is considering a future in politics.

 Another Muslim group held a political awareness seminar Sunday at the Islamic Center of  Minnesota in Fridley in which participants learned how to approach the mayor, handle  media interviews and build interfaith support.

 About 700 Muslims ran for public office in 2000, and 153 were elected, the St. Paul paper  reported. In 2002, however, the number of Muslim candidates dropped to fewer than 70,  with about 15 elected, said Agha Saeed, a professor who has compiled the figures for the  American Muslim Alliance.

 One of a handful of Muslim candidates elected in the country last year was Keith Ellison,  the first Muslim chosen for state office in Minnesota. Ellison, a member of the state House,  said he was hit with a campaign "smear tactic" but now laughs about it. Fliers post in  Minneapolis neighborhoods showed him in a bow tie with "Muhammad," his Muslim name,  displayed prominently, the St. Paul paper reported. The message essentially said: Can this  person really represent you?

 Ellison said he wants to see Muslims add their voices to issues such as homeland security  and the economy.

 "I'm down here [at the Capitol] every day, and there's no Muslim presence at all," he told  the Pioneer Press. "Without speaking up, people will pass repressive legislation on you. It's  essential to raise your profile and find your political voice."

 Muslim groups claimed their support of President Bush put him in office, but an exit poll by  the Detroit News showed 66 percent of Muslims in Michigan voted for Al Gore. Muslims are  heavily concentrated in Detroit and other major metropolitan areas including New York,  Chicago and Southern California.

 Rahma Farah, 18, who participated in the Saturday workshop, said the experience made  her optimistic about the future of Islam and U.S. politics.

 One day, she told the St. Paul daily, there may even be a Muslim president of the United  States.

 "Who knows?" Farah said. "Maybe in 2020."

 MAS said, according to a news release, it is planning a June 9 workshop on Capitol Hill in  Washington, D.C., to train imams and other Islamic leaders in the "community-building skills  of political participation and media relations."

 The session will be part of the American Muslim Council's annual imam conference, from  June 5th to June 9th.

 "No leader in our community should miss this opportunity to build crucial outreach skills,"  said Dr. Souheil Ghannouchi, president of the Muslim American Society. "In order to be  effective leaders, our imams must be able to engage government officials on issues of  concern to the community and properly represent their faith to the media."

 After the training seminar, imams will have lunch with Muslim congressional staffers, MAS  said, providing "an ideal opportunity for networking and building practical knowledge of the  role of Muslims in politics."

 Should Muslim Quran be USA's top authority?

Paper stands by story citing 'mainstream' leader pushing for Islamic America

Posted: May 1, 2003     By Art Moore     2003


A former newspaper reporter says she stands by her story claiming the chairman of a  leading Muslim lobby group declared the Quran should be America's highest authority.  In a press release accusing WorldNetDaily of "demonizing Muslims," the Washington,  D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, denied its chairman of the  board, Omar Ahmad, made the statement and said it is seeking a retraction from the  newspaper that published the story July 4, 1998.

 However, Steve Waterhouse, editor of The Argus in Fremont, Calif., since 1997, told WND  his paper has not been contacted by CAIR. The article also was run in a sister publication,  the San Ramon Valley Herald. The paper's city editor, Dave Boitano, said he would have  known if CAIR had sought a retraction.

 The reporter who covered the event, Lisa Gardiner, told WND she remembers the strong  statement by Ahmad, who was one of several speakers at a session titled, "How Should We  As Muslims Live in America?" at an Islamic conference in Fremont.

 Gardiner, regarded as a reliable reporter, is now a legislative aide for California Democratic  Assemblyman John Dutra. She said the statement in question is her paraphrase but insisted  it is accurate and will not retract the story.

 Her article also paraphrases Ahmad saying, "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other  faith but to become dominant."

 WND Editor Joseph Farah referred to Omar's remarks which have been cited by other  critics of CAIR in a column last week on the Muslim group's campaign to derail President  Bush's nomination of Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes to the U.S. Institute of Peace.

 In its press release, CAIR said Farah's most recent articles "smeared" the Muslim group with  numerous "falsehoods and distortions" in an attempt to support Pipes' "controversial"  nomination. The group claims WND stories "prompted" readers to write "hate-filled"  messages to CAIR, and that some are being examined by the Justice Department.

 Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer responded yesterday to a question by WND's White  House correspondent about CAIR's opposition to Pipes.

 "The nomination continues to stand," Fleischer said.

 Living in America

 Ahmad's remarks have been cited by CAIR critics in the context of charges the group is  tied to a radical element of Islam rather than the mainstream it claims to represent.

 Its press release says: "CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is a mainstream  organization that regularly works with national law enforcement authorities, elected  officials and other civil liberties and minority groups.

 A copy of Gardiner's original article, provided by Waterhouse, said in part:

 Omar M. Ahmad, chairman of the board of the Council on American-Islamic relations, spoke  before a packed crowd at the Flamingo Palace banquet hall on Peralta Boulevard, urging  Muslims not to shirk their duty of sharing the Islamic faith with those who are "on the  wrong side."  Muslim institutions, schools and economic power should be strengthened in America, he  said. Those who stay in America should be "open to society without melting (into it),"  keeping mosques open so anyone can come and learn about Islam, he said.

 "If you choose to live here (in America) ... you have a responsibility to deliver the message  of Islam," he said.

 Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant, he said. The  Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam  the only accepted religion on Earth, he said.

 When asked whether CAIR had contacted the newspaper for a retraction as indicated by  its press release, national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told WND, "[Ahmad] never made the  statement, and we have sought a retraction."

 Pressed several times to specify whether CAIR already has contacted the newspaper, he  repeated the statement then finally said someone from CAIR's California affiliate made the  contact.

 When confronted with the fact that the newspaper's editors say CAIR has not contacted  them and the reporter stands by the story, he ended the call with, "If you are going to use  distortions, I can't stop you; it's a free country. Have a nice day."

 Hooper called back, however, and said he wanted to change his statement to say, "We will  seek a retraction, and we have spoken to the reporter about it in the past."

 Justice probe?

 Although WND did not solicit or encourage the virulent e-mails, CAIR's press release ties  them to the newssite, and Hooper told WND the Justice Department is "looking into it."

 A Justice spokesman, Drew Wade, said the department does not confirm or deny the  existence of ongoing investigations.

 But Paul Bresson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who looked at CAIR's examples of  the e-mails when WND forwarded him the press release, said the FBI thoroughly examines  the merits of each case, and he could not immediately judge whether they rose to the  level of a threat worthy of investigation. He added, however, if they essentially amounted  to just epithets, a probe would be unlikely.

 With just name-calling, "we would have a lot of work to do" to make a case out of it, he  said.

 So why is CAIR so upset with WorldNetDaily?

 "CAIR's leadership," said Farah, "has an Islamic totalitarian mindset just like their funders in  Saudi Arabia and their friends in the Hamas terrorist group. They dish it out pretty well, but  they can't take any criticism not even e-mails! You should see the hate mail I get from  CAIR's members. It would make your hair stand on end."

 Farah added: "These extremists like to try to intimidate people, but they can't stand up like  men and take it. Now they are running to the Justice Department for help. Fortunately for  us, we don't have Shariah law in this country; we live free under the U.S. Constitution."

 Motivated to promote unity

 Gardiner explained the newspaper's coverage of Ahmad's 1998 speech well before Sept.  11, 2001 was partly motivated by the "need to know more about the diversity of religions  in California and the world."

 "That was something we worked for, and the newspaper was covering many Muslims in the  community," she said.

 She considered her personal interaction with the Muslim leaders "extremely positive" and  enriching.

 "I think it would be unfortunate if this [controversy] ultimately ended up creating more  hostility and misunderstanding," she said.

 Party official censured for 'Islamophobia'

Party official's offending e-mail thanked God Muslims not majority

Posted: April 30, 2003     By Art Moore      2003

Under pressure from a controversial Muslim lobby group, a Canadian party official has been  censured for his angry defense of Rev. Franklin Graham's Christian relief work in Iraq.  When Stephen Leach fired off an e-mail to the Council on American-Islamic Relations'  Canadian affiliate for its excoriation of Graham's plans for Iraq, he thought he was acting  as a private citizen.

 However, the Muslim group apparently discovered Leach's affiliation through an Internet  search and turned the e-mail into a public campaign. Leach is vice president of the  Progressive Conservative party's Oshawa, Ontario, riding, or district.

 In his e-mail to CAIR, he called the group's recent demand Graham be barred from working  in Iraq a "hate crime."

 Leach wrote: "North America was not founded on Muslim principles, else, we wouldn't be  the strong continent we are today. We would be a [backwoods] civilization, like many  Muslim nations found in the Middle East today."

 In response to concerns about his e-mail, Leach said, "This is my opinion, this is no opinion  based on anybody else but my own."

 But CAIR Canada issued a news release calling on party leaders to repudiate the remarks.  After some negotiation, Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark agreed last week to  denounce Leach's comments, the Ottawa Citizen newspaper reported.

 CAIR Canada said when it "contacted leader Joe Clark for a statement regarding the party's  position on Islamophobia, his office refused to intervene, characterizing the issue as a  private conflict between individuals."

 Nevertheless, Clark eventually helped draft a joint statement with CAIR Canada's  spokesman, Riad Saloojee, which said the remarks "were completely unacceptable and  inappropriate."

 A CAIR news release said Sheema Khan, chair of CAIR Canada, concluded a conversation  with party officials saying she was satisfied the Progressive Conservative Party would  continue to be an ally of CAIR "in the defense of the principles of multiculturalism and  inclusiveness."

 'Despicable practice'

 Last month, CAIR's U.S. spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, criticized Graham and other  evangelical Christians for using humanitarian concerns as a "cover" for their "true motive"  to convert Muslims to Christianity.

 "They go after them when they're most vulnerable and hope they can get them to leave  their faith," he told Beliefnet. "It's a very despicable practice."

 The Muslim leader, who has said he wants the U.S. eventually to become a Muslim nation,  said, "Franklin Graham obviously thinks it is a war against Islam."

 "This is a guy who gave the invocation at President Bush's inauguration and believes Islam  is a wicked faith," Hooper said. "And he's going to go into Iraq in the wake of an invading  army and convert people to Christianity? Nothing good is coming of that."

 Leach's e-mail to CAIR Canada said:

 "Your organization has publically (sic) endorsed a HATE CRIME against Christians as Billy  Grahams son is working to assist helping out refugees from Iraq.  "If this was the other way around, no one would doubt a HATE CRIME had been  purpetrated (sic).

 "I am shocked and dismayed by the belief structure being upheld by Muslims in North  America where everyone has the freedom of speech and religion.

 "North American was NOT founded on Muslim principles, else, we wouldn't be the strong  continent we are today. We would be a bag woods (sic) civilization like many Muslim  nations found in the Middle East today.

 "I demand a public apology by your President to Mr. Graham immediately and would  recommend you work WITH Christians and Jews, and not against them as your faith would  have it.

 "Yeah, we are the infidel (sic), but in North America, thank God you are a minority religion  and not one which the vast majority of North Americans adhere to.

 "Truely (sic) disgusting!! Hell, even I fly the Red, White & Blue and I'm not even an  American. I'm Canadian. :) God Bless America, God Bless the Allies, God Bless the soon to  be [free] Iraqi's (sic), their freedom paid for in blood of those nations which actually give a  damn about them."

 Further discipline?

 A party spokesman said it is now up to Leach's local party leader to decide whether further  disciplinary action against him is required.

 The CAIR Canada chair Khan apparently was satisfied with the outcome, stating in the joint  release, "I am confident these internal [party] matters are being addressed with the  seriousness they deserve."

 Leach told the Ottawa Citizen he did not think it was fair to drag his party into the  controversy, but insisted members of the Conservatives and the government share his  opinions.

 "Because of the role they play right now, they don't say such things publicly," he said.

 Leach also refused to apologize for his remarks, vowing to "never back down."

 "I was just upset that these people can condemn an organization like Franklin Graham's,"  he said. "That is fear-mongering, hate in itself."

 A group calling itself Anti-CAIR has set up a website "exposing the truth about the Council  on American-Islamic Relations," which it calls "just one of many anti-American  terrorist-sponsoring organizations hiding behind the religion of Islam in the United States  today."

 Responding to CAIR's criticism of the Pentagon for inviting Graham to speak at a Good  Friday service, Anti-CAIR issued a news release stating, "While ACAIR supports the rights  of members of the Islamic faith to oppose the appearance of Rev. Graham, we do not  understand the involvement of CAIR in the dispute."

 ACAIR charged: "CAIR is an Islamic fundamentalist organization dedicated to the overthrow  of the United States Constitution and the installation of an Islamic theocracy in America.  CAIR is not qualified to speak on behalf of mainstream Muslims in America."

 Anti-CAIR also has defended Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, whose nomination by  President Bush to the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace has generated a CAIR campaign.

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