Pushback against Islamophobes & loons in motion

One day after four GOP congressmen held an anti-CAIR, anti-Muslim press conference excusing CAIR of placing Muslim interns on the Hill to spy, there is a building resistance against this nonsensical assertion in mainstream America.

 

Atlanta Constitution-Journal Columnist Cynthia Tucker wrote the following today:

 

CAIR is a mainstream, all-American civil liberties and advocacy group that tries to eliminate bias against Muslims and advance the integration of Muslim-Americans into the American mainstream, like countless other minority advocacy groups…

CAIR probably figures nothing would help their image more than having well-educated, hard-working young Muslim Americans working in congressional offices.

But [a GOP fringe congressman from Georgia] Broun et al see a terrorist plot, a 2009 version of the Manchurian Candidate. What crackpots.

Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com stated that yesterday’s anti-CAIR, anti-Muslim press “might actually be the most despicable domestic political event of the year.”  Greenwald also wrote:

CAIR is a non-profit organization of American citizens who are Muslim and their “mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”  They stand accused of plotting to influence members of Congress and trying to help interns obtain positions in Congress in order to advance their political agenda.  That’s consistent with what virtually every political advocacy group in the nation does; it’s normally called activism and democracy.  But because, in this case, it’s a group of Muslims who are doing this, these House Republicans are depicting it as some sort of nefarious espionage plot against the U.S. that demands a criminal investigation.

 

Meanwhile, Dave Gaubatz, the extremist referenced by the fringe GOP congressmen as providing proof of the alleged spying Muslim interns, is being referred to by people of other faiths as a “paranoid, racist loon.”  It is still shocking to me (actually it really shouldn’t be) that these congressmen would use such a xenophobe and racist as inspiration to call for a House Sergeant at Arms investigation!

Update at 4:49 PM –

SEE: Conyers blasts GOP lawmakers’ accusations of Muslim ‘spies’ – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room

 

Rep Conyers stated the following:

It shouldn’t need to be said in 2009, and after the historic election of our first African-American president, but let me remind all my colleagues that patriotic Americans of all races, religions, and beliefs have the right – and the responsibility – to participate in our political process, including by volunteering to work in Congressional offices.  Numerous Muslim-American interns have served the House ably and they deserve our appreciation and respect, not attacks on their character or patriotism.

Update 4:55 PM –

SEE :Republican Lawmakers Leading Witch Hunt Against Muslim Group | Media Matters Action Network

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Mosques Have Open Houses In 2 Days

http://www.detnews.com/article/20091015/LIFESTYLE04/910150403/1410/METRO01/8-mosques-to-host–Meet-Your-Muslim-Neighbor–open-house

8 mosques to host ‘Meet Your Muslim Neighbor’ open house

Saturday event aims to promote peace and dispel myths

Oralandar Brand-Williams / The Detroit News

Detroit –Eight metro Detroit mosques are encouraging non-Muslims to visit their houses of worship Saturday as part of a coordinated open house to promote better understanding of the Quran holy book and Islam.

Members of the sponsoring Council of Islamic Organizations say the open house aims to promote peace, understanding, friendship and tolerance among people of all faiths and “to convey the correct understanding of Islam and Muslims.”

Imam Aly Lela, of the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit in Rochester Hills, said he is inviting non-Muslims to his mosque because he sees it as a “first step toward mutual understanding to get to know each other and take a close look into this culture.”

“The open house is a wonderful opportunity to come and ask questions they have on their minds in a friendly environment,” Lela said of the event, called “Meet your Muslim Neighbor: Sharing our Common Heritage.”

The mosque tours are free, and children are welcome, say organizers. Visitors are expected to dress modestly, but that interpretation may vary from mosque to mosque, with some requiring head scarves for women and others not. Visitors should call ahead of time to find out.

Shahina Begg, a member of the Unity Center mosque in Bloomfield Hills, said the program is a good start to bridging gaps between religious groups in Metro Detroit.

“The open house is a great opportunity for people of different faiths and traditions to talk openly, to have conversations, to get to know one another,” said Begg, the co-founder of the Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in Metro Detroit.

“People have this kind of fear and misunderstanding (about mosques),” said Begg. “This is a good way to dispel myths and ignorance.”

Many Americans think Muslims in America are confronted with more discrimination than any other religious group, according to a study released last month by the Pew Research Center.

Muslims make up one of the world’s largest religious groups. A report, “Mapping the Global Muslim Population,” released last week by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Lifem indicates 1.57 billion people, nearly 1in 4 in the world, are Muslim.

Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan, said the event is a good way to get non-Muslims to visit mosques.

“I think that anyone who hasn’t visited a mosque should do so at least once in their lifetime to see how it is situated and to ask questions of educated people in Islam,” said Walid, an assistant imam at the Masjid Wali Muhammad mosque in Detroit.

“There’s nothing secretive that goes on in our mosques,” he added.

“The Friday midday prayers are always open to the public. Everyone can come. The public is welcome any Friday to come and listen to the sermons.”