Help Secure the Muslim-American Community This Ramadan
Support CAIR-PA With Only a Dollar a Day
banner image
Rabab Alma Counseling Services



RSS Feed for News Updates

CAIR-Philadelphia on the Front Lines

Interfaith Iftar Celebration at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Bryn Mawr (06/06/2017)

CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender was the keynote speaker at an Interfaith Iftar Celebration at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Bryn Mawr, co-sponsored by Peace Island Institute.

Doylestown Meeting in Solidarity with the Muslim Community (06/10/2017)

Over 100 people gathered at Doylestown Presbyterian Church for a solidarity meeting with the Muslim community, called “Many Faiths, One Community: BuxMont Solidarity Gathering.” Speakers included Imam Numaan Cheemah of Zubaida Foundation, Doylestown Mayor Ron Strouse, and Jacob Bender of CAIR-Philadelphia. The event was co-sponsored by Zubaida Foundation, Bucks County Interfaith Coalition for Refugee Resettlement, and Rise Up Doylestown.

Jacob Bender at Doylestown Meeting in Solidarity with the Muslim Community

Interfaith Iftar Celebration at Masjidullah (06/11/2017)

Over 300 people participated in CAIR’s 4th Annual Interfaith Iftar, co-sponsored by — and taking place at — Masjidullah. Over half the participants were Jews and Christians (photo below). Speakers included Imams Mikal Shabazz and Muhammad Abdul-Aleem of Masjidullah, Rabbi Shawn Zevit of Mishkan Shalom Synagogue, Rev. Cheryl Pyrch of Summit Presbyterian Church, and Jacob Bender of CAIR. Read more…

Share:Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on RedditShare on LinkedInDigg thisShare on StumbleUponPin on Pinterest
dot   dot   dot

In U.S., are Muslims the new Jews?

by Stu Bykofsky
Philadelphia Daily News

Other immigrants, such as those from Germany, Italy, and Asia, often got the cold shoulder, too, but it was not as severe. The U.S. always has been a little bipolar on immigration — elated at the idea of a Land of Immigrants, but some of us not so keen when the new arrivals don’t look like us.

Muslims are the latest to arrive in numbers, and they carry the additional burden of being associated with terrorism. “Bad luck,” as with Japanese immigrants in California at the outbreak of World War II, observes Jacob Bender, executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. For Muslims, 9/11 created “a level of suspicion that was heretofore unknown to their community.” Bender happens to be Jewish. Read more…

Share:Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on RedditShare on LinkedInDigg thisShare on StumbleUponPin on Pinterest
dot   dot   dot

CAIR-Philadelphia Condemns Murders of Muslims in Virginia and England

(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 6/19/17) — The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia) today condemned the murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen in Fairfax, Virginia, and the carnage caused by a motorist running down Muslim worshippers in North London, England.

CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender said: “No matter the motivation of the murderers in these two heinous crimes, these attacks come in the midst of an unprecedented anti-Muslim climate in the U.S. and Europe, spurred on by Islamophobic statements by irresponsible voices in the media and the American government.”

CAIR-Philadelphia calls upon the appropriate authorities to investigate these crimes and bring charges as soon as legally possible.

Our deepest condolences to the families of the dead and injured in both Virginia and England during this Sacred Month of Ramadan.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

– END –

CONTACT: CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director, 917-660-3805,

Share:Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on RedditShare on LinkedInDigg thisShare on StumbleUponPin on Pinterest
dot   dot   dot

Help Secure the Muslim-American Community This Ramadan

If you can donate to our work, please go to

Ramadan Kareem 1438/2017

Dear Friends and Supporters of CAIR-Philadelphia,

Assalamu Alaikum. Once again, the nights and days are filled with an aura of sacredness and spirituality. We welcome both the challenge of the fast and the joy of the nightly iftar (the meal that breaks the daytime fast) with awe and wonder.

Observing Ramadan is a journey of the spirit, and fasting is the map that brings us ever closer to the presence of the Divine in our lives, as well as focusing our consciousness on our relationship and responsibility to our fellow human being. Fasting reminds us, teaches us, empowers us with the knowledge that as we are indeed able to control the physical desires and temptations within ourselves, so should all of humanity be capable of renouncing gluttony, greed, and injustice in the entire world. “Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many learn piety and righteousness.” [2:183]

Banquet presentation participants.

Seen in this light, Ramadan can be understood as a sacred time when we bring the virtues of mercy, compassion, and love to the world at large, especially needed in tempestuous times. “Righteous are those who… give zakat, cheerfully to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the traveling alien, and the beggars… and keep their word whenever they make a promise, and steadfastly persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and war.” [2:177]

These are times of persecution, hardship, and war, and it is our religious obligation, ethical responsibility, and constitutional right to respond to the unprecedented national crisis now unfolding before our eyes.

This is no ordinary time for our beloved country. An axis of populist white nationalists, Christian fundamentalists, anti-Muslim bigots, climate and science deniers, and anti-regulatory billionaires have taken power in Washington and in state houses around the country, with a hardly-hidden agenda to gut and destroy every progressive program and piece of legislation since the dawn of FDR’s New Deal during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

How does this all relate, you might ask, to the Muslim community? More than just relate, for at this moment we believe American Muslims are the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Given all that we have witnessed since the beginning of this past U.S. presidential campaign, and especially since the inauguration on January 20 — the open racism, the slew of Islamophobic advisors in the White House, the attempt by Executive Order to make “Muslim Ban 1.0” and “Muslim Ban 2.0” the law of the land — how the American Muslim community if fairing is a sign how American democracy is fairing.

Never did the American Muslim community need a more sophisticated and dedicated voice to speak for it than at this precarious moment. That voice is the Council on American-Islamic Relations, America’s leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. The following are just some of the events that CAIR-Philadelphia either organized or participated in since January 1, 2017:

  • Jan. 15: Jacob Bender, CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director, spoke on “Interfaith Relations during the Trump Regime” at Overbrook Presbyterian Church.
  • Jan. 21: On the day after the inauguration, CAIR-Philadelphia marched with hundreds of thousands of other outraged Americans through the streets of Washington DC in the largest political demonstration in American history.
  • Jan. 21: Salima Suswell, CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Committee Member, spoke at Women’s March in Philadelphia.
  • Jan. 26: Jacob testified at the Philadelphia City Council in favor of a resolution to affirm Philadelphia’s support and protection of Muslim communities
  • Jan. 30: CAIR-Philadelphia joins thousands of other outraged Americans at the Philadelphia Airport to protest the openly racist “Muslim Travel Ban.”
  • In January and February, CAIR-Philadelphia helped organize and sponsor several Town Hall Meetings — at Masjidullah, Villanova Masjid, Masjid Al-Madinah, and Muslim Association of Lehigh Valley — on the theme of “The Trump Administration and What It Means to You.”
  • Feb. 4: Jacob spoke at Masjid Al-Hidaya together with Mayor Kenney of Philadelphia.
  • Feb. 11: CAIR-Philadelphia President Osama Al-Qasem met with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick.
  • Feb.-Apr.: CAIR-Philadelphia presents a 10-part course on “Introduction to Islam and Muslims Through History and Scripture” in West Chester.

Governor Tom Wolf and banquet attendee.

  • Mar. 11: With Governor Tom Wolf in attendance, and Linda Sarsour delivering the keynote address, CAIR-Philadelphia’s 11th Annual Banquet is a sold-out success.
  • Apr. 29: CAIR-Philadelphia joined with over 200,000 other Americans at the People’s Climate March in Washington to sound the alarm about the danger of human-caused climate change to the Planet.
  • May 1-3: CAIR-Philadelphia staff joins with hundreds of other American Muslim in “Muslim Advocacy Days on Capitol Hill,” lobbying U.S. senators and representatives about the issues of concern to the American Muslim community.
  • June 10: Aaysha Noor (CAIR-Philadelphia Advisory Board Member) helps to organize an Interfaith Unity Rally Against Hate in Harrisburg.

And during the same period, CAIR-Philadelphia staff were interviewed in the following media outlets:, CBS3 News, KYW Radio, NewsWorks, Philadelphia Metro, Ryan on PMCM-TV, The Philadelphia Citizen, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Tribune, and WURD Radio, thus helping to counter the rampant misconceptions and outright distortions of Islam that spread in the media. Download a copy of our 2016 Annual Report (PDF) for more information.

Our annual budget is $290,000, of which we raised $170,000 at our Annual Banquet. We therefore need to raise an additional $120,000 to keep serving the Muslim community in these difficult days.

If you can donate to our work, please go to

With God’s Guidance, and your support, we will surely overcome the voices of hatred now heard in our land.

Wishing you a Ramadan Kareem,

Osama Al-Qasem / President

Jacob Bender / Executive Director

Share:Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on RedditShare on LinkedInDigg thisShare on StumbleUponPin on Pinterest
dot   dot   dot

World Environment Day: Greening our Ramadan

Last week, President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord put the United States at odds with facts, scientific consensus, moral responsibility, and nearly every country in the world implementing the Paris Accord to limit global devastation already being caused by climate change before it’s too late.

Today, CAIR-Philadelphia commemorates World Environment Day, with a call to action, reaffirming the Muslim-American commitment to local solutions that protect our earth and help the community, reflecting the Islamic principle of stewardship.

Where the Trump administration puts profit-maximizing short-term monetary gain for corporate allies first, they let greed prevail over good for all humanity. By failing to keep America’s international commitments, they put all of humanity at risk.

That why we the people are making the change within our own hearts and green-conscience, personal deeds, and community initiatives.

Over the past few months, CAIR-Philadelphia organized a grassroots educational series about spiritual ecology and community letter drive for climate action at Muslim institutions around the Delaware Valley with our partners at PA-Interfaith Power and Light.

We mobilized dozens of CAIR-members to join the Keepers of the Faith contingent of the People’s Climate March on Washington. We hand-delivered dozens of letters and advocated on Capitol Hill for clean earth, sustainable energy, and a solution to the climate crisis.

We circulated thousands of flyers through Muslim-American communities to support the Walk for Green Jobs and Justice. The bold and spirited initiative led by our friends at Earth Quaker Action Team and POWER Interfaith would bring solar jobs and power to the most vulnerable communities around Greater Philadelphia.

Today, we call on CAIR members to take three real steps to fighting climate change here in Philadelphia: 

1. Read and share knowledge with your social media feeds about how climate change puts millions of lives (and dollars) in jeopardy:

The Economist: Islam and ecology In almost perfect harmony

What’s Really Warming the World – Is it Climate Change?

Eight ways climate change is making the world more dangerous

VIDEO: How melting Arctic ice could cause uncontrollable climate change

Eco-Jihad in Islamic Economics: The Need for a New Economic Paradigm

‘Green Muslims,’ Eco-Islam and Evolving Climate Change Consciousness

2. Contact PECO today and sign up to support the Green Jobs and Justice campaign to create local solar jobs and buy clean energy from the people, not dirty fossil fuel sources:

Take direct action by tweeting @PECOconnect and calling Craig L. Adams, PEC President and CEO at 215-841-4908 to ask: “Will PECO uphold the goals of the Paris climate agreement to reduce emissions enough to protect our planet from more than 2C warming?”

3. Host a Green Iftar in your community.

Our coalition partners at ISNA are circulating guidelines to an eco-friendly Ramadan.

CAIR staff will be visiting mosques throughout the region to talk about earth stewardship and hosting our climate action letter drive.

We encourage you to check out this short Green Ramadan webinar.

Be sure to sign your masjid community up to the Greening Ramadan Campaign

Contact Al-Sharif to schedule a Green Iftar and short talk at your masjid during this holy month.

Share:Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on RedditShare on LinkedInDigg thisShare on StumbleUponPin on Pinterest
dot   dot   dot