Jacob Bender

CAIR-Philadelphia

Director’s Desk: Blood Libels, Trump, and How to Oppose Islamophobia

My aunt was blind in one eye. When she was a child in Czarist Russia, anti-Semitic gangs rode through the Jewish village where she lived, burning and shooting. A sliver of glass went into her eye. The reason for this destruction: a local child had gone missing, and the Christian peasants were convinced that the Jews had murdered the child and used his blood in the making of matzot, the ritual bread we Jews eat during the holiday of Passover.
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CAIR-Philadelphia

Director’s Desk: Reflection on the Two Eids Campaign

Sixty-two years ago, in the landmark case of Brown vs Board of Education, a unanimous Supreme Court of the United States ruled that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students were unconstitutional. Separate educational facilities, the Court said, “were inherently unequal.” The ruling paved the road to integration and was considered a major victory for the civil rights movement.
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CAIR-Philadelphia

Director’s Desk: Remembering Dr. King

When I was 12 years old, my parents took me to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak at an outdoor rally for civil rights in the Watts section of Los Angeles. We were some of the very few white folks in the crowd. I can still remember the eloquent words pouring out of the man on the stage, the triumphant voice thundering for justice. The day after hearing Dr. King speak, I was back in school, and I must have mentioned the event to my social studies teacher, because she asked me to give a report to the class. That afternoon, some boys followed me after school, yelling "n*gg*r lover" at me for a few blocks.
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CAIR-Philadelphia

Director’s Desk: Responding to Hate

Last Wednesday, September 30, I travelled to Harrisburg with a group organized by the Arab American Institute (AAI) in Washington, DC and Marwan Kreidie, an AAI activist from Philadelphia. During the day, we met with Governor Tom Wolf, who signed “The Pledge to Combat Bigotry,” a public statement against anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatred in politics.
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CAIR-Philadelphia

Director’s Desk: Islamophobia, Unashamed and Uncorrected

Yesterday, at a Donald Trump campaign event in Rochester, New Hampshire, a man wearing a “Trump for President” t-shirt made the following statements when called upon by the billionaire candidate: “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims.” “You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.” “Anyway, they have training camps growing where they want to kill us.” “When can we get rid of them?”
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CAIR-Philadelphia

Director’s Desk: The Death of Muslims

I was on vacation last week. My wife, daughter, and I spent the time in a beachfront hotel in Montauk, a lovely little village at the tip of Long Island. Vacations should be a welcome relief from the tensions of the world, but this year, the world found a way to make its pain known through the ubiquitous electronic devices that litter our contemporary environment.
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CAIR-Philadelphia

Director’s Desk: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki *

I write about this, not only because it is the 70th Anniversary of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings, but also because I believe the world continues to exist under the shadow of The Bomb. One Muslim nation, Pakistan, already has The Bomb, and the situation along the border with India remains extremely tense.
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CAIR-Philadelphia

Director’s Desk: The Voices of Hate

On the average of about once every two months, our office receives a "hate call." These calls usually come in after office hours (as the caller clearly has no interest in dialoguing with us) and are left on our voice message system. The messages are often filled with obscenities, in addition to the usual delusional Islamophobic rants. On occasion, the messages include clear threats of violence, which we have duly reported to the police. CAIR chapters around the country report similar patterns of harassing and menacing phone calls.
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CAIR-Philadelphia

Baltimore is a Muslim Issue

We at CAIR-Philadelphia have watched the tragic events unfolding in our neighboring city of Baltimore these past days with trepidation and sadness, just as we previously witnessed the injustices committed by the police in Ferguson, Staten Island, Charlotte, and countless other cities across the nation. We should not delude ourselves: these killings of Black men are not the exception, they are symptomatic of the lack of due process by which African American communities are governed in this country.
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