Fanatics and Freedom

It has been one of the foundational principles of democratic nations that the law exists as a guarantor of liberty. From the Magna Carta to the American Declaration of Independence, from the French Declaration of Rights of Man to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the march of history can be seen as the expansion of freedom to ever greater numbers of the Earth’s inhabitants.

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Hundreds gather to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan

In his sermon, [CAIR-Philadelphia Vice President] Iftekhar Hussain congratulated Muslims for experiencing Ramadan — a month, he said, “to give us shade.” He noted that like society today, the prophet Muhammed saw oppression, violence and exploitation. Just as he would leave society to recharge himself, Hussain said Ramadan gives Muslims today a chance to refresh and to become active in their communities. With Ramadan at an end, he said, “Now is the time to engage in society.”

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8 Days to Go – There is still time to donate to CAIR-Philadelphia

Alhamdulillah, CAIR-Philadelphia has four very talented individuals working for us: Jacob Bender our executive director, Timothy Welbeck, Esq., our staff attorney, Dr. Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu, our outreach and education director, and Leena Jaffer, our operations manager. They have been able, due to your continuous and generous support, to provide our community and the general public with an unprecedented level of services, all the more important in these perilous times.

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A Letter from Jacob Bender About His Colleagues

There can be no doubt that Islam, viewed as a systematic and religiously-based physiological guide for human behavior, frowns upon extravagant displays of arrogance on the micro-level (“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise…” Sahih Muslim), as it eschews extremism on the macro level (“Oh People of the Book, don’t go to the extreme in your religion…” [Qur’an, An-Nisa’ 4: 171]).

It is best, therefore, to praise others than to heap acclaim and acclamation upon oneself. It is in this spirit (especially prescribed during Ramadan) that I take this opportunity to write about my two colleagues: Dr. Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu and Timothy N. Welbeck, Esq., respectively, CAIR-Philadelphia’s Education and Outreach Director, and our Civil Rights Attorney…

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Victory! CAIR-Philadelphia Helps Secure the Right to Wear the Hijab for Student Athletes

In what is widely heralded as a victory for religious freedom, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (“PIAA”) recently voted to amend its policy requiring a waiver for student athletes to wear religious head coverings during athletic competitions. CAIR-Philadelphia and other civil rights groups and elected officials, pushed for this change in support of Nasihah Thompson-King, who could not play in a playoff game for her school’s basketball team earlier this year because she refused to remove her hijab.

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Heal Thyself, Heal The World

Now is not the time for silence or lethargy, but of activism and commitment. Let CAIR be your voice, from the public arena to the courthouse, from the pulpit to the halls of power. So please help CAIR help you. This Ramadan, give generously to CAIR-Philadelphia; your donations are tax-deductible and zakah-eligible. You will be making an investment in the future of the Philadelphia Muslim community and the healing of our nation.

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After Gaza

I spent Monday glued to the BBC, Reuters, Aljazeera, and Haaretz broadcasts from Gaza. By Tuesday morning we knew that 58 Palestinian demonstrators had been killed by Israeli troops, while a staggering 2,700 had been wounded, including one infant who died from tear gas inhalation.

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CAIR-Philadelphia Condemns Israeli Massacre of Palestinian Civilians Protesting Embassy Move to Jerusalem

The Philadelphia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia) today condemned the Israeli massacre of dozens of Palestinian civilians protesting both the unilateral move of the US embassy to Jerusalem and the 70th anniversary of “The Nakba,” the expulsion by Israel of hundreds of thousands of Arabs out of Palestine during the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli war.

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