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Message from the Civil Rights Director

Dear CAIR-PA supporters, As Salaam Alaikum (Peace be upon you)

It has been a difficult couple of weeks for Muslim Americans, thanks to Mr. Nidal M. Hasan and the right wing opportunist hate-mongers. Mr. Hasan, who gunned down 13 fellow soldiers in Fort Hood, Texas, instantly gave the right wing an opportunity to blame Islam and suspect all practicing Muslims.

Usually, hate crimes, discrimination, and backlash result from the media frenzy of such an event, but thanks to the efforts of CAIR-National and the coordination of all CAIR chapters, most Americans understand the clear distinction between Muslim Americans and criminals who happen to be Muslim.

These efforts have translated into good news for the Civil Rights Department of CAIR-PA – we received no complaints of immediate backlash or hate crimes in Pennsylvania related to the Fort Hood incident. It is probable however that incidents will occur in the future, and I strongly encourage reporting all such incidents to us.

Moein M. Khawaja
Civil Rights Director

Focus Article: “To Bigotry No Sanction”
By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

In the ears of American Jews, among the golden words of American history are those of George Washington to a synagogue: “To bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

God knows these words have rung false about many different communities in the dark-light-checkered history of our Republic. (Blacks, Mormons, the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese, the Japanese, gay people —— )

There have even been moments in American history when those words seemed not so clearly truthful, about Jews. (See Philip Roth’s amazing alternate-history novel, The Plot Against America, and its roots in real history.) But in this generation, in regard to Jews these seem engraved on American reality – not only in stone, but in glowing beams of light.
But in the wake of the Fort Hood murders, it is not so clear that these words apply to American Muslims.

Every sizeable Muslim organization in America has condemned those murders, and some have taken proactive steps to aid the families of those killed. These are ethically responsible actions.

I wish that Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, and other religious communities could also come forward along with Muslim groups to say truthfully, “In the fabrics of ALL our different traditions are both broad spaces of peaceful and peace-seeking wisdom, and some bloody strands. These we need to address forthrightly and to explicitly reject or reinterpret so they cannot be used to justify violence.”

World Commentary

  1. What can Palestinians learn from the American civil rights movement? Appealing to the Jewish conscience by Aziz Abu Sarah
  2. Open religious discourse can prevent a future Fort Hood by Asma Uddin
  3. Enemy-centric approach in Pakistan doesn’t work by Saira Yamin and Lisa Schirch
  4. Muslims Must Condemn Religious Extremists Sheila Musaji
  5. False Dictotomies by Lisa Miller