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My Thoughts on the Death Penalty

by Ryan Houldin,
CAIR-Philadelphia Staff Attorney

China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. These five countries execute more of its citizens than any other countries in the world, in that order. It is interesting to note that three of these countries are predominantly Muslim. While the Qur’an does allow state sanctioned killing in specific situations, Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl of the UCLA Law writes:

Entrusting the state to play this hazardous and often untenable role of carrying out the Divine mandate, if one does in fact exist, raises a set of theological and ethical problems that are not adequately addressed by simple reliance on procedural guarantees or by augmenting the integrity of the process that results in the decision to terminate life.

I agree. The death penalty is an unjust and anachronistic mechanism of our criminal justice system. Extensive research has conclusively proven that the death penalty, like the criminal justice system itself, has a huge racial bias. Given the fact that this country has never fully accepted responsibility for the racism and genocide upon which it was founded, it should come as no surprise that those ideologies still play out today in our criminal justice system. Studies have shown that the death penalty is more likely to be administered when the victim is white, in addition to the fact that people of color are more likely to be put to death when compared to similarly situated white defendants. Read more…

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11th Annual Banquet Audio Clips

Listen to the speeches and presentations from our 11th Annual Banquet held on March 11, 2017:

Linda Sarsour (Keynoter)

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Jacob Bender (CAIR-Philly Executive Director) & Al-Sharif Nassef (CAIR-Philly Advocacy and Outreach Manager)

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Sharif Street (PA State Senator)

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Presenters:

Ejaz Sabir

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Salima Suswell

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Eyad Takedine

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Noor Jemy

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Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer

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Imtiaz Chaudhry, MD

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Reverend Laurie Sweigard

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Rabbi Linda Holtzman

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Rue Landau

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Muslim Ban 2.0 Halted: Trump’s Rhetoric Finally Catches Up to Him

By Ryan Houldin,
CAIR-Philadelphia Staff Attorney

Last evening may have marked the first instance where Donald Trump’s words have come back to haunt him. Prior to last evening, Trump’s myriad offensive comments have had little effect on his ability to gain support among the American people and Republican legislatures across the country. Trump supporters either wholeheartedly embraced his xenophobic, sexist, racist, bigoted comments or routinely downplayed them by urging people not to take Trump’s words literally. Well, fortunately for those who still believe in the Constitution, Derrick Watson, a federal judge in Hawaii, decided to hold Trump to his words.

Judge Watson halted the implementation of Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0, pointing to various comments from Trump and his administration that illustrated “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus.” The Trump administration seemed to believe that by removing the overtly discriminatory language contained in the first Muslim ban, there would be no evidence that the true intent behind the revised ban was motivated by targeting Muslims. Remaining true to his character, Trump seemingly forgot his often-repeated campaign promise to enact a Muslim ban, but Judge Watson did not.

Judge Watson candidly stated, “[comments] made in the months leading up to and contemporaneous with the signing of the Executive Order, and, in many cases, made by the Executive himself, betray the Executive Order’s stated secular purpose.” Judge Watson also singled out comments made by Rudy Giuliani and Stephen Miller, both of whom publicly admitted that the purpose of the Executive Order was to bring Trump’s Muslim ban promise to fruition.

It is a welcome relief to finally see someone in power hold Donald Trump accountable to his words and actions. CAIR-Philadelphia commends Judge Watson on upholding the Constitution and ensuring that freedom of religion applies to all religions, not just those favored by this administration.

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CAIR-Philly Sold-Out Banquet a Rousing Success!

This past Saturday night, March 11th, nearly a thousand CAIR supporters, Muslim community leaders, Jewish and Christian clergy, and elected officials, including Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf, joined together at our sold-out Eleventh Annual Banquet to celebrate the accomplishments of CAIR-Philadelphia.

With a theme this year of “Revelation and Resistance,” the 2017 banquet stressed the deep connection between our spiritual lives and the movements for social justice.

The banquet began with a one-hour informal visit by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances to the opening reception.  The Governor wandered around the room talking with community members, listened to their concerns, and graciously posed for photographs. His presence at our banquet was a statement about his core values of inclusiveness in the face of Islamophobic exclusion, but also a validation of CAIR’s influence as an intermediary for the Muslim community.  The Governor’s visit reminds us that our government listens to our concerns and can serve our needs when we remain active and united. Read more…

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CAIR-Philadelphia Stands in Solidarity with Jewish Community

Last week, Pennsylvania’s Jewish community received numerous bomb threats after white supremacists desecrated a Jewish cemetery in Northeast Philadelphia. Numerous mosques around America have received similar threats in recent weeks.

CAIR-Philadelphia, alongside Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Americans from around Philadelphia, stood in compassion and solidarity with our Jewish friends in faith and humanity against these vile threats. We will continue echoing the call for coexistence and denounce these hate crimes that will only strengthen and unite us.

  

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