Thursday, March 31, 2005

CAIR takes action

I was just commenting the other day about how Muslims in the West are in no way losing their religion because of the different attempts to dissolve and Americanize Islam. This (below) could serve as an example of how North American Muslims are, and how they are actually getting stronger by the day (simple example, but says something).


Hundreds contact Boeing to urge withdrawal of magazine ads

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/29/05) - Alhamdulillah (praise be to God), CAIR today announced that National Review magazine has apparently removed advertisements for two virulently anti-Muslim books attacking the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) from its online store.

The removal of the promotional materials for "The Life and Religion of Mohammed" and "The Sword of the Prophet" came after hundreds of concerned Muslims contacted the magazine and Boeing Co., one of the magazine's advertisers, to express their concerns about the Islamophobic views in both books. The previous links to each book, which were working as late as this afternoon, state "Record not found for product."


Yesterday, CAIR issued an action alert calling on Muslims and other people of conscience to urge that Boeing withdraw advertising support from National Review because of its promotion of anti-Muslim hate. Boeing representatives say they were "inundated" with faxes, e-mails and calls.

SEE: "Contact Boeing About National Review's Attack On Prophet Muhammad"

"We would like to thank all those who took the time to contact both National Review and Boeing to defend Islam and the Prophet Muhammad from defamation," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. "Once again, your calls, e-mails and faxes have truly made a difference."

Help CAIR meet its monthly online fundraising goal of $25,000. GO TO: (Or use the form below.)

CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.


Anonymous said...

Mohamed, I think there are several trends that have all come together to create a greater sense of unity in the American Muslim community where before efforts were far more disorganized and ineffective.

First you have the new waves of immigration. Iraqis, Pakistanis, Yemenis and other Muslim immigrants in the last couple decades or so have represented a new and fairly large wave that has - unlike past waves - remained far more connected to the "old country" than previous generations who were much more likely to want to shed their old identities.

Second, you had the outbreak of the Intifada, a pan-Arab and pan-Islamic issue that got a lot of people riled up.

Third, with the Intifada as an issue in the background, you had the election of GWB in 2000. It's hard to believe nowadays, but back then the belief was that he would be more fair than Gore would have been on Middle Eastern issues (based mostly on his daddy's reputation but also one comment he made during a debate saying he thought racial profiling of Arabs was wrong - which he of course betrayed 100% with the Patriot Act) so the Muslim and Arab communities in the US rallied to give him a pretty decent margin of support. It may have proven to be a big mistake, but it did have one lingering effect of having been a piece of actual advocacy that the community as a whole got more effectively engaged in than they had just about anything else in the past.

Third was 9/11 and the backlash against Muslims (and anyone who even looked like a Muslim to ignorant rednecks like Sikhs) in the country. Now things moved from merely feeling passionate about foreign affairs and relatively minor domestic issues to a much stronger feeling of being under siege by growing societal racism and official government persecution under the Patriot Act. I don't want to paint this too starkly, life is still good here and neighbors are mostly very nice, but tension and racism has grown and been fostered by the Bush Administration, and this has created further cohesiveness among Muslim and Arab Americans and strengthened their advocacy groups.

And finally of course the Iraq war which simply ramped up all of the above trends. None of this is monolithic, there are plenty of exceptions, but the trends seem clear. The result is a community that is under greater stress, but that is responding with greater cohesiveness and strength. It is annoying and unjust that folks who are Muslim or Arab (or look like them) in the States should face many of the growing number of indignities they do, but I think some positive responses are coming amidst the negatives too. Traditional organizations like CAIR have a higher profile among Americans, moves by American Muslims are watched more closely back in Muslim countries (witness the whole female prayer thing), and new strains of religious thought and cross-cultural identity are being forged by American Muslims much as European Muslims have been in the limelight doing for some time now.

Plenty of stuff gets me angry though, just yesterday my dad who got his citizenship back in the 70s was coming back into the country and got grilled by immigration agents who had the nerve to ask him why he became an American citizen. Who the heck did this guy think he was, why don't we ask him why his great-granddaddy left Italy or Ireland or Russia or Mexico? Irrelevant and to me such questions ought to be illegal for an immigration officer to ask any American citizen, there are not supposed to be gradations of citizenship after all.

Some of this may seem petty given the struggles faced in a place like Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Egypt or wherever else. But to me the whole point of America and the reason Bush is such a bloody failure is because America is supposed to stand for something better. We're supposed to be a place in my view that other countries can look to and say "I wish we could be more like that" not a place where people look and say "geez those guys are hypocrites and murderers". Other countries are based mostly on long-established cultures and histories. We don't have that in the US, we're young and we wiped out in a devastating genocide most of the native Americans who did have a claim to such a history. If America is worth anything, it is based entirely on an idea: that government by common consent and reasoned law-based compromise can establish a peaceful, prosperous and just society. If we fail to live up to our own standards, then we're nothing but the latest bully on the block. My thoughts on America in addition to Muslim-Americans.


Mohamed said...

That's a good insight Jamal.

I think the main shift in North American Muslims communities, causing them to have a greater sense of unity and becoming more active and effective, is the second generation of Muslims that have grown up there (you being one of them I presume). The first generation was too attached to their home countries, and were mostly on the sidelines. The second generation find North America to be their home country, and as such, are more integrated in a manner that eases their participation. I always thought that the Jews there are doing a great job lobbying for Israel because they've integrated so well with the American culture. You see an American Jew, and he's definetely an American. You see an American Muslim, and you wonder, where does he originally come from? (doesn't mean that we should change some of our beliefs like some progressives are doing though).

I think 9/11 has in some sense benefited American-Muslims, in the sense of pushing them to participate, to act, and in a way to unite. Hard times is what strengthens societies, and those times that the Muslims are having there will certainly strengthen them.

Yes, its annoying to be offensively questioned by an ignorant immigration officer. I was once asked in the airport there, "do you have family back home? do you love them?" Huh!, "well, yes ofcourse", and I was about to say "and I'm willing to blow up myself for them bitch". But at the end of the day, as long as she didn't detain me, or delay my flight, I'll treat her like the herds of brain-washed security soldiers in the streets of Egypt.

Anonymous said...

I think that's a good and important addition, the second generation is unique and more activist. In many ways a lot of their actions are a rebellion against the first generation, even the activist first generation.


Anonymous said...

Can you tell us more about these books? What is their background?

Are they really Islamophobic, or are they just critical of Islam. It would be wrong to try to ban books that make intelligent and reasoned criticisms of any religion. Extremist hate literature of course should be discouraged, although banning usually just forces it underground.

Mohamed said...

Well, ofcourse Anonymous, banning objectively critical books is wrong. The description that CAIR provides about the books indicates that they are books that promote hate to our faith, and thus to the believers of that faith. They're quoting the following reviews about the books: the book is a “guide into the dark mind of [the Prophet] Mohammed.”, the book "gives us the unvarnished, ‘politically incorrect' truth about Islam ... its rise through bloody conquest; its sanctioning of theft, deceit, lust and murder.”

If I write a book about you calling you a thief, deceitful, and lustful murderer, would that be considered objective criticism?! Try to promote a book that says anything remotely close to that about the Jews, and see what they'll do.

But mind you, CAIR didn't try to ban the books. It sent a message to Boeing (which advertises at the NR magazine), that since apparently you (Boeing) don't like us so much, by supporting a service that promotes such books, we won't do business with you. Actually it was even more polite than that. They requested Boeing to withdraw its advertising support from the NR magazine.

BTW, one of the books seem to be up on the site again.

ibn_abdel_aziz said...

CAIR has done lots of things, but you need to work with them on daily basis to find out that Hypocrisy is also running this place.

They fight prejudice, and hatred against Muslims..but they are prejudice against one another..If the president of the chapter were from a certain place or background he will prefer hiring those who come from the same background ...Muslim African Americans also complain about Arabs' prejudice against them ...

I have written two different topics about this subject: