What is the Council on American-Islamic Relations?

Bucks Co. Courier-Times The Council on American-Islamic Relations is the “most pre-eminent and largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the country,” according to the Philadelphia chapter’s executive director, Jacob Bender. It began 20 years ago and now has 30 chapters across the country, about half of which have attorneys on staff. The Philadelphia chapter started in 1994. The council has a two-pronged mission, as Bender described it: One, legal protection of civil rights; and two, advocating for and educating the public about the Muslim community.

Continue reading

Jewish advocate uses interfaith work to fight Muslim stereotypes

Bucks Co. Courier-Times Although it might seem unusual for a Jew to lead a Muslim organization, it was a natural next step for Jacob Bender. In October, he became executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Philadelphia chapter — and the first non-Muslim to head up any of the 30 chapters. The organization focuses on civil rights protection for Muslims and counteracting negative stereotypes about Islam through education and advocacy. Continue reading (subscription required) …

Continue reading

Muslims practice spiritual renewal during Ramadan

Bucks Co. Courier-Times Starting Saturday, Osama Al-Qasem and his wife, Manal Shurafa, started letting go of worldly concerns and focused on spiritual renewal. The Northampton couple weren’t alone. Muslims all over Bucks County are doing the same during Ramadan, the season during which the practice of prayer and sacrifice is intensified. The annual tradition, which lasts for 30 days, marks what Muslims believe was the time before the message of the Koran, Islam’s holy book, was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.

Continue reading