Muslims

Dawud Walid told us that in his work in the civil rights field, "we're always skeptical about government investigating ... actions of its own members."
flickr user DVIDSHUB / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department to launch an investigation in to Raheel Siddiqui's death. 

Siddiqui was a Pakistani-American Muslim who was 11 days into his basic training with the United States Marine Corps on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died. 

The Marines say the 20-year-old committed suicide by jumping 40 feet in a stairwell. Siddiqui's family says that's absolutely not the case. 

Raheel Siddiqui
Facebook

The United States Marine Corps says a 20-year-old Taylor man committed suicide by jumping 40 feet in a stairwell. 

The family of Raheel Siddiqui says that's absolutely not the case.

Siddiqui was a Pakistani-American Muslim who was 11 days into his basic training on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died.

The Muslim Student Association at Michigan Tech University is trying to raise money to build a mosque in Houghton.
Muslim Student Association (Michigan Tech University)

Islamaphobia has been rampant in the dark corners of the internet for a long time. It rears its head in real life as well, and as close as Dearborn, where we've seen armed protestors stand outside mosques and libraries protesting "radical Islam" or simply voicing their anti-Muslim sentiment. 

But there's a small enclave of Muslims in the Upper Peninsula that says they've been welcomed, and feel safe there. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

  In Cleveland later this morning, a coalition of Muslim groups plan to hold a news conference to "Challenge the GOP’s  'Politics of Fear'."

Concern about growing islamophobia has led to a push to get more Muslim Michiganders to the polls in November. 

Last month, services at mosques in Michigan were crowded with people observing Ramadan.

On the final Friday of Ramadan, as worshippers gathered at a mosque in Canton, they were greeted by volunteers trying to get them registered to vote.

Volunteer food packing at Zaman International in Inkster, MI, on May 20, 2016. Zaman, a charity specializing in assisting women and children in the local area, delivers the packages in advance of the beginning of Ramadan, the holy Islamic month where Musl
Shiraz Ahmed

This is the holiest season of the year for Muslims: Ramadan.

It's a time of self-examination and increased religious devotion. It's also a time of giving.

Muslims break their fast with an Iftar, or evening meal
Norris/Michigan Radio & Amila Tennakoon/Flickr

I’ve always been curious about what it’s like to fast all day long for Ramadan and then break the fast with an Iftar, or evening meal.

Luckily, I can explore my curiosity as part of my job as the arts and culture reporter for Michigan Radio and bring back the information and stories I’ve learned to our listeners.

Ramadan 101

Jenny / flickr creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, has asked U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General Robert B. Neller for "further clarification" about last month's death of U.S. Marine Corps Private Raheel Siddiqui of Taylor, Michigan. 

In a letter sent earlier this week, Dingell describes Siddiqui as "a young man of Muslim faith who loved his country and wanted to serve it and protect the freedoms for which it stands."

Dingell wants to know whether hazing was involved in the March 18 death of Siddiqui, who arrived at Parris island on March 7 for boot camp. 

Andrey Belenko / Flickr

A Michigan advocacy group is suing U.S. government officials on behalf of people who found themselves on a government terror watch list.

The two lawsuits, filed in a federal district court in Virginia Tuesday, say the designation process for the terror watch list is arbitrary, secretive, and unconstitutional.

Provided by Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice

Some Ann Arbor area churches, synagogues, and homeowners are putting up outdoor banners and yard signs to express support for refugees and the Muslim community.

Two local interfaith groups, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice and the Interfaith Roundtable of Washtenaw County, have distributed the banners and signs as part of an effort to counteract growing anti-refugee and anti-Muslim rhetoric.

flickr user JMacPherson / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


As ISIS claims responsibility for the deadly bombings in Brussels, it raises a serious question: How do news stories linking Muslims with terrorism impact the way we think of all Muslims?

University of Michigan assistant professor of communication Muniba Saleem and her fellow researchers wanted to find out. Their study is called Exposure to Muslims in Media and Support for Public Policy Harming Muslims.

Dr. Farha Abbasi, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University.
Derrick L. Turner / Michigan State University

The eighth annual Muslim Mental Health Conference is taking place in Dearborn this week with a wide range of topics on the schedule. Everything from Islamophobia and extremism to interfaith training for people who are working with American Muslim families will be discussed.

Mahir Osman

Muslims in Michigan face a dual challenge: They want to prove that they stand in solidarity with America against extremist groups like ISIS, and they want keep their young people safe from radical extremists.

Imam Yahya Luqman with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Mahir Osman with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Metro Detroit talked with Cynthia Canty of Stateside.  

Muslim woman sues former workplace for discrimination

Dec 23, 2015
Justice statue
Flickr user Jack / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A Muslim woman from Dearborn has filed a lawsuit against her former employer for religious discrimination.

The complaint says Terry Ali, who wears a hijab, was hired as a medical receptionist at Livonia Dermatology. Ali began the new job one day before the mass shooting in San Bernadino earlier this month.

The day after the shooting, Ali's supervisor pulled her aside and asked "if she was satisfied with the job." The supervisor also asked if Ali could contact her previous employer and ask for her old job back.

Muslims hold a vigil in Royal Oak in response to attacks in Libya
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

In the U.S., random attacks against Muslims – or people the attackers think look like Muslims – are on the rise. Michigan is not exempt.

In her recent article for The Islamic Monthly, Michigan public school teacher Zeinab Chami wonders why, 14 years after the most significant incident of violence in the name of Islam ever, we are now seeing more vitriolic comments against Islam – not fewer.

The article is called The Prayer of the American Muslim. That prayer: “Please, God, don’t let them be Muslim.”

Eric Constantineau / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM / cropped from original

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission has issued a reminder in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in Beirut and Paris.

They want people to take a stand against retaliatory violence and discrimination against Arab and Muslim Americans.

Earlier this week, the FBI office in Detroit issued a statement that it's investigating anti-Muslim threats against Dearborn.

Islamophobia harms the fearful as much as the feared

Nov 19, 2015
flickr user JMacPherson / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

The ISIS attacks in Paris triggered fresh waves of fear and suspicion aimed at Muslims.

In just one example, the FBI is now investigating a Michigan woman regarding a tweet she sent out the day after the Paris attacks:

“Dearborn, MI has the largest Muslim population in the United States. Let’s f--- that place up and send a message to ISIS. We’re coming.”

From a local tweet like that to CNN anchors questioning why no one in the French Muslim community spoke up to warn of the Paris attacks, the shock waves of fear and paranoia can be felt resonating far and wide.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Muslim flight attendant disciplined for refusing to serve alcohol has filed a federal complaint in Detroit.

Attorneys for Charee Stanley filed the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Tuesday.

Stanley is a flight attendant with ExpressJet Airways, working with Detroit-based management and crew.

When she converted to Islam about two years ago, Stanley says she arranged for fellow flight attendants to serve alcohol on her behalf.

theunitedwest.org

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - One of the country's top Islamic leaders is holding prayers away from his Detroit-area mosque as his relationship deteriorates with board members.

The Detroit Free Press reports Imam Hassan al-Qazwini led prayers Friday at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center.

Jimmy Carter at a book signing in 2010.
Geoff Holtzman / Talk Radio News Service/Flickr

The former president, who will turn 90 on October 1, will be the keynote speaker at the annual conference for the nation's largest Muslim group.

The Islamic Society of North America's 51st annual conference will be held at the Cobo Center from August 29 through September 1. The theme of the conference will be on "elevating Muslim-American culture."

More from the Toledo Blade:

President Carter will talk on the subject of his latest book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power, at a luncheon Aug. 30.

That night, at a session called “Generations Rise: Elevating Muslim-American Culture” -- the same title as the entire conference theme — the outgoing president of ISNA, Imam Mohamed Magid, and four other Muslim speakers will offer ideas for Muslim-American advancement over the next five years. A “secret special guest” is also on the bill.

The Blade reports Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will speak at the opening of the conference, which will also feature "Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, the national leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim member of Congress."

Here's one of the Society's promotional videos for the conference:

A Muslim civil rights group is suing the federal government on behalf of five Michigan plaintiffs who are challenging their placement on the government’s “terror watchlist.”

Wikipedia

Civil rights groups, Muslim community and Dearborn city leaders are denouncing that city’s apparent designation as a terrorist hotspot.

The Intercept, an online magazine, obtained secret documents from the National Counterterrorism Center listing “known or suspected terrorists.”

They contain a graphic showing the top 5 locations for “known and suspected terrorists” in the US.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

ANN ARBOR – A jury has awarded nearly $1.2 million to a Muslim man who said he was called a terrorist and repeatedly passed over for promotions while working for Washtenaw County.

The verdict was returned Thursday in Detroit federal court. Attorney Shereef Akeel says Ali Aboubaker was awarded money for lost wages and pain and suffering.

Aboubaker worked for Washtenaw County for 17 years until 2008. The native of Tunisia says he was demoted and bypassed for promotions despite having engineering skills and college degrees.

legislative portrait

GRANDVILLE, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan member of the Republican National Committee says he's made mistakes but he's not quitting the party post.

Dave Agema issued a statement Friday, hours after chairmen of the Michigan and national Republican Party urged him to step down.

Last March, Agema posted an article on Facebook with an unsubstantiated claim that gays account for half the murders in large cities. He also came under fire from the Council on American-Islamic Relations for a Facebook posting this month questioning Muslims' commitment to charity.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Dave Agema served from 2006 to 2012 as a state representative in the Michigan Legislature. He hit his term limit and moved on to other things in 2012.

Now he represents Michigan as a member of the Republican National Committee. Many Republicans wish he weren't.

Some are naming names and calling for his ouster. Others aren’t calling him out by name but are “asking for more civility,” as MPRN’s Rick Pluta reported:

Official legislative portrait

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - As the Republican National Committee prepares for meetings in Washington this week, Gov. Rick Snyder and other party leaders in Michigan are criticizing repeated anti-gay and anti-Muslim remarks by Committeeman Dave Agema.

The 64-year-old ex-state representative from western Michigan represents the state on the Republican party's national board.

Snyder made a semi-veiled reference to Agema in Thursday's State of the State speech, calling for civil discourse in the public arena.

A new festival will feature comedians from Arab-American and other minority backgrounds. 

The 1001 Laughs Dearborn Comedy Festival happens September 27 and 28 at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn.

Amer Zahr is the festival's producer and he'll also be performing a few sets.

user Ahmed Rabea / Flickr

I was traveling in Indonesia when I first experienced Ramadan. I was wondering why so many people at the McDonald's in Surabaya were sitting at the table, wrappers open, waiting to eat their Big Macs.

It was the holy month of Ramadan, and they were waiting until just after sunset - for the iftar - the meal that breaks the day-long fast.

Flickr

Should homeowners be allowed to do pretty much whatever they want with their garages, as long as it doesn't bother neighbors?

That's the essence of a growing debate in Dearborn, where a desire by some residents, largely Arab-Americans, to use their garages as living space is being met with resistance at City Hall and the prospect of tighter garage ordinances.

Jeff Karoub is with the Associated Press, covering issues pertinent to the Arab-Muslim community, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

bbmcshane / flickr

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit judge says a lawsuit can go forward against federal authorities accused of violating the rights of Muslims at U.S.-Canada border crossings.

Federal Judge Avern Cohn says he's not ruling yet on the merits of the case. But he denied a request by the government to dismiss it Tuesday.

Some Detroit-area Muslims sued last year, saying they've been held at gunpoint, handcuffed and repeatedly questioned about their religion when returning to the U.S. from Canada. Some have given up on crossing the border.

Cohn says the government might come up with valid reasons for pulling Muslims aside for additional questions at the border. But he says that's not the key issue at this stage of the litigation.

U.S. State Dept.

DETROIT (AP) - Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan plans to visit Detroit next week and says he wants to help revitalize the city.

The Chicago-based Nation of Islam announced Thursday that Farrakhan plans to visit starting May 16 and give a public address May 17.

The Nation of Islam was founded in Detroit the 1930s. In a statement, Farrakhan says he plans to look at the condition of Detroit and consider buying properties to help in revitalization efforts. He says there's a need for help in the schools and city government.

Detroit's problems include crime and abandonment, and its finances are being run by a state-appointed emergency manager. Its budget deficit is $327 million and the city has a long-term debt of more than $14 billion that includes retiree and other obligations.

Pages