Director’s Desk, June 12, 2014

Last week I travelled to Harrisburg to represent CAIR at the “Annual Connections Event” of the CRN-Community Responders Network, a coalition of local religious and secular leaders “who seek to build a more inclusive community by preventing and responding to acts of bias and intolerance in Central Pennsylvania.” The organization was started in 2008 following an incident that targeted a local Muslim family, and concerned individuals from different faith communities came together to stand with their Muslim neighbors.

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Director’s Desk, May 27, 2014

CAIR’s mission is to provide legal services to the Muslim American community in matters of job discrimination and government abuse, whether related to security or immigration issues, as well to combat Islamophobia and educate the American public about Islam and Muslims. Consequently, CAIR deals almost exclusively with domestic issues, except when foreign issues become part of the domestic Islamophobic discourse, and therefore impact the public’s perception about Muslims in general.

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Director’s Desk, May 8, 2014

I had the pleasure of delivering a lecture this past Monday, June 5th, on “Combating Islamophobia” at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE. The lecture was sponsored by the Department of Political Science and International Relations, the Center for Global and Area Studies, and the Islamic Studies Program. Over 60 students, both graduate and undergrads, and clearly of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, came out for the evening lecture. My topics included: Anti-Muslim prejudice in Western Civilization; the similarity of contemporary Islamophobia to 19th Century American anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism; the rise of the Islamophobic network, and its funding sources, in post-9/11 America; and effective strategies of countering Islamophobia on campus and in the mainstream media.

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Director’s Desk, April 3, 2014

jacob-pic I was very excited that Imam Zaid Shakir, Co-Director of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, CA, and the keynote speaker at our Annual Banquet on March 15, devoted the first few minutes of his inspirational talk to the subject of climate change. For those new to the discussion of faith-based responses to this issue, the subject of climate might seem like an odd choice for a banquet presentation, and perhaps a not especially Islamic question. It was the opinion of Imam Zaid, as well as other contemporary Muslim scholars I have read in the last few years, that far from being irrelevant, climate change is the single greatest challenge facing humankind, and a profoundly Islamic issue for the following reasons.

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