CAIR-Colorado Condemns Hate Vandalism Targeting Jewish Familys Home

(DENVER, CO, 6/4/17) — The Colorado chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CO), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned racist and anti-Semitic vandalism targeting an Aurora, Colo., Jewish couple.

According to local reports, the couple walked outside of their home Friday morning to discover their garage and mailbox had been vandalized with Nazi swastikas late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

SEE: Police Investigate Swastikas Spray Painted on Home

Police in Aurora are investigating after swastikas were spray painted on a home and the mailbox.

We condemn the hate-filled actions of those who seek divide our nation with fear by targeting members of minority communities.” said CAIR-CO Co-Chair Krista Cole.  „CAIR-CO offers its solidarity and support to the family and to all Coloradans targeted by hate in these trying times.”

She added: “We are a nation that is united by a core set of common values, and religious freedom is one of those core values. Any attempt to undermine our diversity is an attack on all Americans and the values we hold dear.

Cole noted that there has been an unprecedented spike in hate rhetoric and bias-motivated incidents targeting people of various religious faiths and other minorities in the last recent months.

CAIR and the American Muslim community have in the past expressed solidarity with Christian, Jewish, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities in New Mexico, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Alabama, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and other states following acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.

Individuals in Colorado are asked to report any bias incidents to local police and to CAIR-CO at 720-509-9956.

The Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization urges community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/report      

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR-CO Board Co-Chair Farid Amin, 303-587-8908; CAIR-CO Board Co-Chair Krista Cole, 303-515-1545, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CAIR-MN Calls for Probe of School Officers Excessive Force After Muslim Student Called F**king Terrorist

(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 6/3/2017) — The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called for an investigation into the alleged use of excessive force by a security officer and resource officer at a high school in that state.  

On Thursday June 1, a female Muslim student at Apple Valley High School in Apple Valley, Minn., was reportedly verbally harassed by a male student and called an ‘f**king terrorist.” The school security guard, who was first on the scene, allegedly used physical force against the Muslim student. The school’s police officer later arrested the Muslim student.

In the process of her arrest, the student’s hijab (religious head covering) was removed. She was taken to the Apple Valley Police Department, questioned and released.

On Friday, school officials met with the family of the student and informed them that she is suspended until the end of the school year.

CAIR-MN reports that it has received complaints from a dozen Muslim students at Apple Valley High School who feel unsafe due to this and other unreported incidents involving the same officer.

We are concerned about the apparent use of excessive force in this incident and about the suspension of the Muslim student, who appears to have been a victim of bullying,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein. „We are also concerned about the growing number of Muslim students who report feeling unsafe because of how this incident was handled by the school officers.”

Hussein added that CAIR-MN has reached out to the school principal and are in talks about the incident.

A study by CAIR’s California office reported that 55 percent of American Muslim students attending California public schools experience some form of bullying based on their religious identity. That is twice as high as the national statistic for students who report being bullied at school.

That study also indicated that 20 percent of Muslim students say they have experienced discrimination by school staff.

CAIR offers a booklet, called „An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.

SEE: An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices

The Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization urges community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/report      

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, 612-206-3360, E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CAIR Offers Diversity Training for Virginia School District After Muslim Students Harassed Over Hijab

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/3/2017) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today offered diversity training for administrators at Prince William Country Public Schools (PWCS) in Virginia following an incident in which two Muslim students were reportedly harassed by school officials because of their Islamic head scarves, or hijab.

The Muslim students at Freedom High School in Woodbridge, Va., say they were approached by a school administrator June 1 and told they needed a note from a parent to prove they were wearing hijab for religious reasons. When they objected, they were sent to the principal’s office and then dismissed from school for the day.

PWCS later issued a statement of apology stating in part:

The request was inconsistent with the PWCS commitment to diversity and religious freedom, and we apologize to anyone it may have offended. . .This situation spotlights a regrettable inconsistency between our official policies and beliefs, and the reality of how things are sometimes done.

“As PWCS admits, there is a disparity between actual district policies on diversity and religious freedom and how those policies are implemented,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We can offer district officials training designed to ensure a welcoming learning environment for Muslim students.”

A study by CAIR’s California office reported that 55 percent of American Muslim students attending California public schools experience some form of bullying based on their religious identity. That is twice as high as the national statistic for students who report being bullied at school.

That study also indicated that 20 percent of Muslim students say they have experienced discrimination by school staff.

CAIR offers a booklet, called „An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.

The Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization urges community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/report      

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.         

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Victory! Oregon Governor Kate Brown Signs Transgender Equality Bill

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Legislation streamlines the process for transgender people to update their birth certificate in Oregon

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, hailed Oregon Governor Kate Brown for signing into law House Bill (HB) 2673 — legislation that streamlines the process for transgender people to update their birth certificate.

By signing this legislation into law, Governor Kate Brown is helping to make Oregon an even more inviting and inclusive place for transgender people to call home,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “We congratulate Basic Rights Oregon on this important victory and thank Governor Brown for her continued outstanding leadership on LGBTQ equality.”

HB 2673 updates existing Oregon law to ensure that transgender Oregonians have access to a safer, more affordable and streamlined process for obtaining corrected birth certificates that reflect their gender identity.  Transgender people who are unable to obtain identity documents that accurately reflect their gender identity face increased risk of discrimination and violence.

HRC was proud to work with Basic Rights Oregon in the fight to pass HB 2673 into law. In April, HRC members, supporters, and volunteers joined Basic Rights Oregon for LGBTQ Lobby Day at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem and shared with lawmakers the importance of passing the legislation.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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Burmas Muslims Face Long Walks to Pray during Ramadan

Two police officers guard one of the closed madrasas in Thaketa Township, Rangoon, after authorities inspected the building, April 29, 2017.

© 2017 Richard Weir/Human Rights Watch

On the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Muslims in Burma’s Thaketa Township in Rangoon will have even fewer places to pray or study their faith. Late last month, the township’s two Islamic schools, or madrassas, were chained shut after a Buddhist ultranationalist mob pressured authorities to close them. The schools have not been allowed to reopen and some fear they will suffer the fate of other madrassas shut by the authorities, and stay closed.

This is just a small fraction of the pressure facing the Muslim community in Burma, but it is felt acutely. As Muslim minority communities increase, they have fewer places to pray. The Burmese population is 90 percent Buddhist, with the percentage of Muslims estimated to be in the lower single digits.

Although Buddhist ultranationalists have, in the past, pressured madrassas not to allow people in for prayers, Muslims in Thaketa Township told me that for several years they’ve received permission to pray there during Ramadan. Now they have no such option and are faced with crowded mosques – the closest is a 30-minute walk away – and staggered prayer sessions.

“It has been a long time since we have been able to build new mosques in this country,” said Kyaw Khin, head of a national Muslim group. “Others are destroyed in violence, and some are closed by the government.”

The Burmese government has placed opaque and onerous restrictions on the construction or renovation of religious structures, as well as limits on the practice of religion, elements of the systemic discrimination facing Muslims, including the ethnic Rohingya in Rakhine State, that we have documented for decades in Burma.

The government needs to allow all people in Burma to worship freely, including by reopening religious schools and protecting minorities from mobs. Meanwhile, the residents of Thaketa Township will be forced to walk hours every day just to make it to daily prayers.

Texas Democrats On The Start Of Ramadan

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Texas Democratic Party Communications Director Tariq Thowfeek issued the following statement:

“This evening marks the beginning of Ramadan, a sacred month of the year for Muslims. 

“Historically, Muslims believe it was during this month that God revealed the first verses of the Qur’an, Islam’s sacred text. The next 30 days, Muslims abstain from eating food and drinking liquids from dawn to sunset. For most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, this month is an opportunity to focus on self reflection, spirituality, forgiveness, patience and generosity.

Here in Texas, we are blessed with Muslim communities as diverse as our state itself. As our Muslim friends, family and neighbors celebrate the holy month, Texas Democrats extend our best wishes to Muslims everywhere. Ramadan kareem! 

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In Wake of Attack on Coptic Christians, ADL Calls on Middle East Leaders to Make Protecting Religious Minorities a Priority

New York, NY, May 26, 2017 … In the wake of the horrifying terror attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt today, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on regional leaders across the Middle East and North Africa to take “tangible steps” to protect religious minorities.

This horrific act of hate and violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt is yet another in a long string of shocking terror attacks that the world must not ignore,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “The continual singling out of the Coptic Christian community in this brutal manner should make certain that leaders across the Middle East and North Africa take tangible steps to protect their religious minorities. Regretfully, all too often, that has not happened.

“We stand in solidarity with Egypt’s Coptic Christian community as they cope with this unthinkable attack and continue to be deeply concerned about the persecution of Copts, other Christian communities and religious minorities across the Middle East,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “As we have seen in the past, ignoring these atrocities will only encourage more such outrages.”

The need to address all forms of bigotry across the Middle East, including repeated acts of violence and hate directed against Christians, was raised by ADL National Chair Marvin Nathan and Mr. Greenblatt during a meeting earlier this year in Washington, D.C. with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

CAIR-Missouri Welcomes St. Louis Resolution Recognizing Ramadan

(SAINT LOUIS, MO, 5/25/17) – The Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MO), a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed Resolution 32 by the Board of Aldermen that “recognizes Ramadan as a holy month and commits to creating a culture of respect in the City of St. Louis.”

CAIR-Missouri: Full Video of Ramadan Resolution 32 Passage by St. Louis Board of Alderman

In a statement, CAIR-Missouri Executive Director Faizan Syed said:

“We are proud of the Board of Aldermen and especially John Collins-Muhammad for unanimously passing this resolution. Recognizing the holy month of Ramadan, which thousands of St. Louis Muslims celebrate, is another positive step in building a culture of respect for all of St. Louis’ diverse communities.”

The resolution was passed by a unanimous decision by all members of the board. A Muslim delegation with representatives from CAIR-Missouri, the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, the Bosnian community, Muslim students, and Muslim-owned businesses was present to witness the historic resolution.

“Today, I’m extremely proud of my colleagues for unanimously passing my resolution to recognize Ramadan as a holy month and commit to creating a culture of respect in the City of St. Louis,” said Aldermen John Collins-Muhammad of the 21st Ward.  “St. Louis has proven to the rest of the nation that we want an environment that welcomes peoples of all faiths and backgrounds into our community”.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Missouri Executive Director Faizan Syed, 636-207-8882, 314-330-2946, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Drastic Cuts in President Trumps Latest Budget Undermine Caring for the Most Vulnerable

For Immediate Release

May 23, 2017

Contact: Max Rosenblum 202.387.2800

WASHINGTON – In response to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposed by President Trump, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis and wider Reform Movement:

The budget proposal released by the Trump administration seeks irresponsible and dangerous program cuts that if fulfilled would hurt millions of Americans. Drastic reductions in spending on health care, food assistance, education, affordable housing, and family planning would do profound harm to the most vulnerable members of our society and abdicate the government’s responsibility to those most in need of support.

Egregiously, the proposal includes over $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next decade, and $72 billion in cuts to disability benefits. Medicaid helps 77 million Americans access the healthcare that they need. It further attacks health care by eliminating funding for vital reproductive health care, including Planned Parenthood. The budget also proposes cutting funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by more than 30 percent, threatening the health of our planet. It guts the budget for the State Department and diplomatic programs by nearly a third, placing America’s international leadership at risk. It includes a similarly draconian cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which 44 million Americans relied on in 2016 to fight hunger. The budget also includes $1.6 billion for an ill-advised wall on our southern border and more funding for detention and deportation – an inhumane and enforcement-focused approach to immigration that will force people further into the shadows and tear communities apart.  

Jewish tradition teaches us to ‘Speak up, judge righteously, and champion the poor and needy’ (Proverbs 31:9). As Congress addresses the budget, these words will be our clarion call, reminding us of our centuries-old commitment to helping all people live with wholeness, justice, and compassion. We urge Congress to reject the President’s budget template and vigorously defend programs that support the lives of the most vulnerable and extend opportunity to all Americans.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.

Drastic Cuts in President Trumps Latest Budget Undermine Caring for the Most Vulnerable

For Immediate Release

May 23, 2017

Contact: Max Rosenblum 202.387.2800

WASHINGTON – In response to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposed by President Trump, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis and wider Reform Movement:

The budget proposal released by the Trump administration seeks irresponsible and dangerous program cuts that if fulfilled would hurt millions of Americans. Drastic reductions in spending on health care, food assistance, education, affordable housing, and family planning would do profound harm to the most vulnerable members of our society and abdicate the government’s responsibility to those most in need of support.

Egregiously, the proposal includes over $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next decade, and $72 billion in cuts to disability benefits. Medicaid helps 77 million Americans access the healthcare that they need. It further attacks health care by eliminating funding for vital reproductive health care, including Planned Parenthood. The budget also proposes cutting funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by more than 30 percent, threatening the health of our planet. It guts the budget for the State Department and diplomatic programs by nearly a third, placing America’s international leadership at risk. It includes a similarly draconian cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which 44 million Americans relied on in 2016 to fight hunger. The budget also includes $1.6 billion for an ill-advised wall on our southern border and more funding for detention and deportation – an inhumane and enforcement-focused approach to immigration that will force people further into the shadows and tear communities apart.  

Jewish tradition teaches us to ‘Speak up, judge righteously, and champion the poor and needy’ (Proverbs 31:9). As Congress addresses the budget, these words will be our clarion call, reminding us of our centuries-old commitment to helping all people live with wholeness, justice, and compassion. We urge Congress to reject the President’s budget template and vigorously defend programs that support the lives of the most vulnerable and extend opportunity to all Americans.

###

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.