Civil Rights Corner – Special Presentation to Government Agencies; Meeting with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; New Cases

The CAIR-PA Civil Rights Department started off the new year with a couple of high profile meetings and presentations.

First, CAIR-PA’s Civil Rights Director made a special presentation to the Pennsylvania Inter-Agency Task Force on Civil Tension – a group of various government agencies, law enforcement and civil rights organizations.  Civil Rights Director Moein Khawaja detailed the struggles facing Muslims in Pennsylvania, gave recommendations to each agency and offered CAIR-PA’s numerous services to them.  Many local police departments expressed interest in CAIR-PA’s sensitivity training for law enforcement officers, and the Civil Rights Department will be presenting workshops throughout the state in the near future.

Last weekend, representatives from CAIR-PA and other local Muslim leaders met with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.  CAIR-PA offered the mayor and city of Philadelphia a series of workshops for city departments to familiarize themselves with Muslims, an important and growing demographic in the city.  Mayor Nutter also offered to work with CAIR-PA’s Civil Rights Department to figure out methods of preventing discrimination against Muslims in the workplace before they happen.  Follow-up meetings are being scheduled.

The Civil Rights Department has received two new cases in January, one involving a local Muslim man not allowed to leave for the Friday Jummah prayer, and another complaint of a hostile working environment.  The second case is particularly interesting and challenging because the hostile environment was created by customers making anti-Muslim remarks to the employee.  In this situation, CAIR-PA believes the customer does NOT come first and will advocate vigorously.

Moein M. Khawaja
Civil Rights Director

Focus Article: Muslims helping Haiti

by Wajahat Ali
Common Ground News

Haiti is experiencing unimaginable suffering from its devastating earthquake, with more than 150,000 dead and one to three million individuals displaced. Individuals, groups and governments from around the world have stepped in to do what they can. United by their religious tradition of charity, Muslims have emerged as effective partners in aid and relief work.

The international effort to aid Haiti by individuals, Islamic relief organisations and the governments of Muslim-majority countries reflects a proactive generosity and empathy espoused by the Prophet Muhammad and the teachings of the Qur’an. Charity, in fact, is one of the five obligations for Muslims, and Muslim organisations have been working alongside other faith-based groups to fulfil this duty.

World Commentary

  1. Zinn’s Life Was a Testament to Possibility by James Carroll
  2. Howard Zinn: A Radical Treasure by Bob Herbert
  3. Why Does the US Turn a Blind Eye to Israeli Bulldozers? by Robert Fisk