‘Anti-Sharia’ Law Supporters Push For Action On Michigan House Bill Targeting Islamic Ideology

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/26/anti-sharia-law-michigan-house-bill_n_2192221.html

Supporters of an “anti-sharia” bill that’s been sitting in Michigan’s State House Judiciary Committee for over a year are pushing state lawmakers to put the measure to a vote.

If adopted, the bill he introduced would “limit the application and enforcement by a court, arbitrator, or administrative body of foreign laws that would impair constitutional rights.”

House Bill 4769 was introduced by State Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville) in June of 2011. Agema, who was chosen to be Michigan’s Republican National Committeeman earlier this year, has a history of making controversial statements about Islam. He has gone on record claiming President Obama is a Muslim and has also linked the faith to violent behavior.

“I disagree that Islam is a religion of peace,” he told Michigan Radio. “Just about every terrorist is a Muslim.”

“I think that’s really undemocratic to bottle it up like that. One should put it on the floor. Let the legislators have a stand up Yes or No vote. And if it fails, it fails,” Irving Ginsburg, a supporter of the bill, told Michigan Radio.

The bill has been opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Council on American-Islamic of Michigan (CAIR-MI).

“HB 4769 does nothing to protect our legal institutions but only contributes to the growing climate of fear-mongering against the American Muslim community which marginalizes and cast suspicion upon loyal Americans,” Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR-MI said on his blog.

Sharia is a term meaning Islamic religious law. It’s a moral and legal code that governs things like marriage, business, eating habits and other aspects of life for a devout Muslim.

In the last several years, “anti-sharia” laws have been passed in Arizona, Kansas, Louisana, South Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma voters passed a state proposal a law similar to Michigan’s House Bill 4769 in 2010. However, that measure was struck down by a federal appeals court because it made a specific reference to sharia law — and would have violated the U.S. Constitution by targeting a particular religion.

Last year Tenessee passed an anti-terrorism law that made the “material support” of Islamic law a crime that could be punished by 15 years in prison. An amended version of the law later removed references to Islam.

In May of this year Kansas governor Sam Brownback signed a law that prevents state courts and agencies from applying foreign laws in their decision-making. That lawmakes no specific mention of sharia or Islamic law, USA Today reports.

 

‘What Karbala Teaches Me: We Must Challenge Our Modern Yazids’

http://lanternofthepath.com/2012/11/24/what-karbala-teaches-me-we-must-challenge-our-modern-yazids-by-dawud-walid/

What Karbala teaches me is that justice is a principle that transcends labels as injustice and oppression can come from within and from without.

Virtually every prophet (Peace be upon them) mentioned in the Qur’an faced social rejection from the dominant culture when challenging oppression. In fact, we can say that the prophets (Peace be upon them) were social revolutionaries. Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) challenged the economy of idolatry in his society and had confrontation with Nimrod. Musa and Harun (Peace be upon them) showed resistance to Pharaoh’s slavery society. ‘Isa (Peace be upon him) challenged the status quo among the Jews and their complicity with the Roman occupation of Palestine, and Prophet Muhammad (Prayers and peace be upon him and his family) confronted systematic oppression in the Hijaz.

As Ibrahim, Musa, Harun (Peace be upon them) and Prophet Muhammad (Prayers and peace be upon him and his family) confronted injustice from people, who primarily did not claim to be upon monotheism, ‘Isa (Peace be upon him) faced primary resistance from those who were of his tribal background, the Children of Israel that also claimed monotheism. As with ‘Isa (Peace be upon him), Imam Al-Husayn (Prayers be upon him) led resistance against Yazid, who claimed the creed of Islam and monotheism.

The wine-drinking, non-prayer guarding Yazid, who usurped the wealth of the Muslim nation was a real person, yet he symbolizes a disease past his person. There have been many Yazids since the actual Yazid. There was the Umawi khalifah Hisham bin Abdil Malik who presided over the beheading of Zayd bin Zaynil Abideen Ali (Peace be upon them), there was the Abbasi khalifah Abu Ja’far Al-Mansur who was behind the murder of Muhammad bin Abdillah bin Al-Hasan Al-Muthanna (Peace be upon them) as well as the beating of Malik bin Anas (May Allah’s mercy be upon him), imam of the Maliki school of thought. And there continues to be Arab kings and other tyrants in Muslim lands, who play the role of Yazid by repressing intellectualism, maintaining systems of nepotism and patronage and supporting extremists, who kill fellow Muslims. To oppress fellow Muslims in such a manner because they are not from one’s own tribe, political party or school of thought is the Yazdi methodology.

Every land where there is pain and affliction is Karbala, every oppressor is Yazid and all who challenge injustice are like the companions of Imam Al-Husayn (Prayers be upon him). As we look at the siege on Gaza by Zionist criminals during this Muharram, let us not forget that we have a duty to challenge our community’s inner Yazids.

Paralyzed Arab American put on ‘No Fly List’ without explanation

http://www.arabamericannews.com/news/index.php?mod=article&cat=Community&article=6101

Paralyzed Arab American put on ‘No Fly List’ without explanation  
By Natasha Dado
Friday, 11.16.2012, 06:42pm
 
DEARBORN — The law firm of Ayad and Associates has brought a federal lawsuit against the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice and the Terrorist Screening Center in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of an Arab American who’s a U.S. citizen, and being denied access to leave the country by plane. 
 
Jamal Rizk of Dearborn Heights is the father of five children, and while he says his background is void of any criminal history, the U.S. Terrorist Screening Center has placed him on the ‘No Fly List’ without providing him with any explanation of why he’s a threat to national security. 
 
Rizk’s case is similar to countless of other Arab and Muslim Americans’ who say they have no connection to terrorist groups and have never violated the law, but are placed on the ‘No Fly List’, or have been stopped and interrogated while trying to travel without reasonable explanation.  
 
Rizk has made an attempt to fly to his native country of Lebanon for surgery addressing his paralysis, but  was prevented from flying by federal authorities creating great personal hardship that has left him without the chance to receive the medical procedure he was going to get in Lebanon. Rizk’s doctor told him the procedure couldn’t be conducted in the United States.  
 
On Thursday a press conference took place at the Arab American Civil Rights League office here with Rizk’s attorneys present. Rizk is 54-years-old, paralyzed from the chest down and is permanently confined to a wheel chair, which already makes traveling difficult. 
 
The lawsuit is challenging the government’s no fly policy, and the obstacles Arab and Muslim Americans are often subjected to while traveling.  Attorney Nabih Ayad, the founder and chairman of the ACRL says there are about 400,000 people on the ‘No Fly List’ and a significant number of them may be Arab Americans. 
 
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Rizk’s case and others similar to it, is that too often people stopped by federal agents while traveling aren’t provided with a sufficient reason why. 
 
“This is kind of a blueprint of what’s been going on in the Arab American community…What’s happening to individuals such as Mr. Rizk is very prevalent around the entire region. Mr. Rizk is not the only client we have that’s had to deal with this kind of situation,” Ayad said. 
 
Dawud Walid, executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations of Michigan says the group is urging the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama to take action in order to stop the racial profiling of minorities and discriminatory practices brought against them in recent years. 
 
Walid says since Obama took office racial profiling has increased drastically in the country.
 
Rizk and other Arab and Muslim Americans have been asked the following questions by agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security while traveling: whether they are Sunni or Shia Muslims?; what Mosque they pray at; if they love the United States; who is the Imam of their mosque, whether they’ve contributed to political groups and who they’re affiliated with in Dearborn. 
 
Ayad joined Rizk as he went to the airport earlier this month, and says he witnessed the “discrimination and hostility” he had to endure there.  Ayad says law enforcement officials were called without Rizk being notified of what was wrong. 
 
Rizk has been in the United States since 1978. He was working at a gas station and was shot, and later became paralyzed as a result of that tragic incident. 
 
 “We have concerns about this. There are prominent businesspeople and members of our community who’re being subjected to this. It’s very concerning and upsetting to this community. We will not be treated as second-class citizens and we refuse to be treated as second-class citizens,” Ayad said. 
 
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed earlier this year a federal lawsuit against U.S. CBP, and the FBI over the repeated detention of Muslims for their religious beliefs and practices by federal agents inside the U.S. and at border crossing with Canada, a concern that continue to be ignored by the agencies that so far hasn’t responded to the complaint. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of American citizens who reported that CBP and FBI agents detained and handcuffed them without evidence of wrongdoing and questioned them about their religious beliefs and worship habits. The suit claims that the four plaintiffs first amendment rights were violated.
 
Mohamed Rizk, (Jamal’s son) says his dad has done nothing to be considered a threat to national security and prevented from flying. 
 
 He says his father was also asked whether he’s received military training, and that the   whole incident has taken a toll on his family.  “It saddens me to see my own government doing this,” Mohamed said.  

Proposal M’s passage bad for Detroit

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121116/OPINION01/211160366/Proposal-M-s-passage-bad-Detroit?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cs

November 16, 2012 at 1:00 am

Proposal M’s passage bad for Detroit

  • By Dawud Walid

Proposal M, which was recently passed to partially decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in Detroit, is a Band-Aid solution to addressing drug use and conviction. It also is not helpful for the city’s image.

There is no doubt America has antiquated drug enforcement policies. Nationwide, our prisons are filled to the brim with low-level, non-violent drug offenders.

The issue of drug use, which leads to abuse, should be treated more with public health solutions and not through criminal judicial non-remedies. But Proposal M is not a solution to the issue.

Proposal M does not provide a legal mandate for the Detroit Police Department to ignore existing state law regarding marijuana possession. The Michigan State Police will enforce state law and federal law enforcement will continue to arrest people based upon federal law. This is the legal reality.

Let us also be clear that marijuana is a drug which impairs cognition, causes mental health issues with chronic use and is addictive. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a lessened desire to achieve and diminished interest in being social also affect regular users.

A 2012 Yale University School of Medicine report shows a correlation between alcohol and marijuana leading to the use of other recreational drugs, which gives more credence to the “gateway drug” theory.

Although I believe in personal freedom, I simply do not see the upside for sanctioning the use of another recreational drug in Detroit. Proposal M makes a behavior with public health implications socially acceptable.

Much of America views Detroit as a poverty-ridden, drug-infested city. Proposal M may solidify these negative perceptions for some, although for others it may serve as a boon for unregulated, untaxed marijuana tourism for outlanders to find homes to legally smoke less than an ounce per day.

America’s War on Drugs has indeed failed.There definitely needs to be augmentation in our drug laws and enforcement. Maybe this means shifting the penalty for possessing marijuana to a civil infraction like a parking ticket instead of clogging our courts with possession charges.

However, just because our drug laws are outdated and marijuana usage has become more acceptable in pop culture, it does not mean that the passage of Proposal M is good for Detroit. State and federal laws still trump it.

With the passage of Proposal M, I hope civic and faith leaders will reinvigorate calls for more robust drug education in Detroit while at the same time calling for a change to our archaic national drug enforcement policies.Proposal M will not serve as a remedy in this process.

Dawud Walid is executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI).