Director’s Desk, February 21, 2014

Jacob Bender

The Olympics and Sochi. As we all gather around the TV each evening to be thrilled by ice dancing and another exciting match of curling, we should remember the repressive conditions that

Sochi’s 20,000 Muslims live under. Muslim leaders have been pushing for permission to build a new mosque since 1996. “I’m so tired of writing letters—whole files—it just drags on and on,” a Muslim organizer told the Norwegian news organization Forum 18 in 2006. One decade after the fall of the Soviet Union, the city’s Muslims were still holding religious ceremonies in packed basements. To read more, click here

Even more unsettling, is the history of massacres and ethnic cleansing perpetrated against the Muslim peoples of the Caucasus and Chechnya. To read more, click here.

Malcolm X Anniversary. Today, February 21, is the day ElHajj Malik ElShabazz (Malcom X) was assassinated in New York City, NY in 1965. As he noted in his Letter from Mecca after completing Hajj, “America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.” His life left a profound mark on American society and continues to inspire peoples of many backgrounds around the world to struggle for justice. To read more, click here.