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Executive Editor: Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Chronology of Islam in America (2018)
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

January 2018

The rise of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in Trump’s America
Jan 1: Muslim and Jewish people make up less than three per cent of the US population, with an estimated 3.3 million (read seven million) Muslims and 5.7 million Jews, but they remain the most targeted. The FBI found both groups suffered an increase in hate crime in 2016, the year US President Donald Trump was elected. It’s a trend that has continued throughout 2017. Hate crimes against Muslims and Jews rose in 2016. The Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) said there was a nine per cent increase in anti-Muslim incidents and a 20 per cent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes last year. The Jewish Anti-Defamation League said its data points to a potential 37 per cent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017. They include discrimination, harassment, assault and bomb threats. “I personally link it directly to Donald Trump and his empowerment of bigotry and white supremacy,” claimed CAIR’s National Communication’s Director Ibrahim Hooper. US Jewish organization the Anti-Defamation League said that since Mr Trump was elected, far-right extremists have become energized like never before. “Many saw the 2016 election as a validation of their beliefs,” a spokesman told SBS News. “In Charlottesville, extremists showed they could draw a large crowd of like-minded bigots to a public event where anti-Semitism and hate were on full display.” Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, said his researchers have also recorded an increase in hate crimes against Muslims and Jews since Trump’s rise to power. [SBS.COM Australia]

Woman who declared her gun range a 'Muslim Free Zone' announces bid for Arkansas governor
Jan 1:
A gun rights activist who once dubbed her shooting range a “Muslim Free Zone” has announced her bid for governor of 
Arkansas. Jan Morgan, a former journalist turned gun range owner, said in a campaign video that she would be challenging the state’s current, Republican governor in the GOP primary in May. Ms Morgan described herself as “a born again Christian, a genetically conservative wife, mother, small business owner [and] certified firearms instructor". “I am committed to fight for you, but I can only do so much from the position of citizen activist,” she said in the video. “If you want me to be your voice, I need a better position to fight from. Strategically speaking, that would be the governor's seat.” The current governor, Republican Asa Hutchinson, announced his re-election bid in May. Mr Hutchinson won his last primary with more than 70 per cent of the vote. Ms Morgan first gained national attention in 2014, when she announced she would no longer allow  Muslim customers into the shooting range she owned in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She claimed Muslims were ordered by the Quran to kill innocent people, and that banning them was necessary to protect her clientele.  “Why would I hand a loaded gun to a Muslim and allow him to shoot lethal weapons next to people his koran commands him to kill?” she wrote in a post on her personal website. The decision drew outcry from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), but Ms Morgan claimed business quadrupled in the months following. She later made several appearances on Fox News to discuss gun rights issues. [Independent]

Muslim woman attacked by group of teen girls who called her ‘terrorist’ in Brooklyn hate crime
Jan 2:
A crew of hate-filled teenage girls attacked a Muslim woman at a Brooklyn Panera Bread, calling her a terrorist as they punched and spit at her, police said.
Muslim community activist Souad Kirama was having coffee with a colleague inside the Panera Bread on Adams St. near Willoughby St. in Downtown Brooklyn when the girls began roughhousing with each other. “All I did was ask them to be quiet and they started attacking me and punching me in my back,” Kirama said between sobs on a Facebook live video after the attack. “People were just standing there watching me being beaten up and being called a ‘f---ing terrorist.’” Kirama’s video has been viewed 100,000 times online, according to the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which hailed the decision to investigate the attack as a bias crime. [NY Daily News]

White supremacist charged with terrorism on Amtrak train
Jan 5: A white supremacist has been charged with terrorism after getting into a secured area of an Amtrak train in October and “playing with the controls,” including the brakes. Taylor Michael Wilson was discovered doing this by a conductor, restrained and arrested. FBI Special Agent Monte Czaplewski said Wilson, who has a permit in Missouri to carry a concealed handgun, had a loaded .38-caliber handgun in his waistband, a speed loader in his pocket and a National Socialist Movement business card on him when he was arrested. He also had a backpack with three more speed loaders, a box of ammunition, a knife, tin snips, scissors and a ventilation mask inside. A subsequent search of his home by the FBI found your basic white supremacist arsenal and documents on how to kill people. Now ask yourself, if this had been a Muslim immigrant with an equivalent arsenal and ISIS literature, how would it have played in the news? How many times would Donald Trump have tweeted about it? [Laura Clawson - Daily KOS]

Thousands Respond to Jerusalem Rally in D.C.
Jan 16: American Muslims, Jews, Christians and others assembled today near the White House to protest President Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Several leaders spoke at the noon rally at Ellipse Park. The protestors came from all states of the nation with some in buses organized from around the country. The rally goers then marched on to the Capitol building. The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, and organizer of the rally called for all Muslim organizations and Mosques to join hands and be united in opposing this unjust move. The founding members of USCMO are American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), The Mosque Cares (Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed). [ICNA]

Thousands of Americans’ Electronics Illegally Searched at Border
Jan 8: Over 30,000 people had their electronic devices searched without probable cause or a warrant by Customs and Border Protection in 2017. This is a 50% increase from 2016. Most of the searches took place at airports when travelers were leaving the country. And 80% of those searched were not American citizens. I happen to think anyone on American soil deserves every protection under the Bill of Rights. But maybe you think foreigners do not qualify for those protections. That still leaves 6,000 Americans who had their rights against unreasonable search and seizure violated by American Customs Agents in 2017. Imagine the helplessness of having your phone taken by an Agent, and searched without your consent. No suspicion of any crime. No probable cause. Just some thug using brute force to violate your privacy. In these settings, travelers are powerless. You just want to get home or continue to your destination, but the American police state shakes you down.  Hundreds of traveler complaints about such oppression have now surfaced thanks to a Freedom of Information Request. [Joe Jarvis – The Daily Bell]

Lockers of Muslim cops vandalized with hate messages in the Bronx
Jan 8:
The lockers for two Muslim cops in the Bronx were vandalized with hate messages — including "F--k you, Muslim b---h," police sources said today. The discovery has prompted an internal probe, with investigators also trying to figure out if the same person is responsible for scrawling "F--k you," "D--k" and penises on about two dozen other lockers, sources said. The Internal Affiars Bureau is leading the investigation into the incident — which has been labeled a possible bias crime — assisted by the Hate Crime Task Force. The graffiti was discovered in the men's locker room at Transit District 11, which is located near Yankee Stadium and covers five subway lines in the Bronx. "Muslims" was written on one locker — just below the officer's name on a "Police!! (cq) Don't Move!” sticker, sources said. There are about 1,000 Muslim officers in the NYPD. [New York Daily News]

Greece votes to change how Islamic Family Law is applied in Thrace
Jan 9: Greece’s parliament voted today
in favor of a bill that will change how Islamic
family law is applied in the country’s Western Thrace region, which is home to around 150,000 Muslims. The bill, brought by the government, was supported by a vast majority of Greek parties. All parties voted in favor of the bill except the far-right Golden Dawn party, which opposed it because they said it failed to spell out what powers will be retained by Islamic courts.With the new legislation, Muslim Turks in Western Thrace will be able to choose between civil courts or Sharia courts to settle family issues and inheritance matters. The bill was submitted to parliament after a legal inheritance case was brought to the European Court of Human Rights by a Muslim Turkish woman from Thrace. "The government today is taking an historic step by bringing to Parliament the bill on Sharia which widens and deepens legal and civil equality enjoyed by all Greek men and women without exception," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said. MP Huseyin Zeybek, a member of the Muslim Turkish Minority of Western Thrace, told Anadolu Agency that he welcomed the new legislation but is also calling for measures to be taken in the election of muftis. [ Anadolu Agency]

Decision welcomed temporarily resume DACA program protecting dreamers
Jan 10: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed a federal judge’s nationwide injunction to temporarily block President Trump’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that safeguards from deportation some 800,000 undocumented young people, known as “dreamers,” brought to the United States as children. CAIR, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, applauded U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup for the Northern District of California, who ordered the Trump administration to “maintain the DACA program on a nationwide basis” as the University of California’s legal challenge to the White House’s decision to terminate the program proceeds. In September, CAIR condemned President Trump’s termination of the Obama-era federal administrative deportation relief program as “pandering to the demands of anti-immigrant extremists.” [CAIR]

Gitmo attorneys file major new challenge to Trump’s Guantánamo
Jan 11:
Today, on the 16
th anniversary of the Guantánamo prison’s opening, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Reprieve, and co-counsel filed a major challenge to Donald Trump’s continued detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. The collective filing, on behalf of 11 men, argues that Trump’s proclamation against releasing anyone from Guantánamo, regardless of their circumstances, which has borne out for the first full year of the Trump presidency, is arbitrary and unlawful and amounts to “perpetual detention for detention’s sake.”  The filing argues that continued detention is unconstitutional because any legitimate rationale for initially detaining these men has long since expired; detention now, 16 years into Guantánamo’s operation, is based only on Trump’s raw antipathy towards Guantánamo prisoners – all foreign-born Muslim men – and Muslims more broadly. CCR notes that Donald Trump’s proclamation that he will not release any detainees during his administration reverses the approach and policies of both President Bush and President Obama, who collectively released nearly 750 men. Trump’s blanket policy guarantees three, or even seven, more years of imprisonment unless the courts intervene now.  Some of the men participating in today’s filing have been detained in Guantánamo for nearly 16 years without charge or trial—detention that has spanned three presidential administrations and five presidential terms. Two of the petitioners have in fact been approved for transfer, narrowly missing their chance at release in the final days of the Obama administration. [Center for Constitutional Rights]  

Termination of TPS for Salvadorans condemned
Jan 11:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned the Trump administration’s announcement this week terminating the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of the 263,000 Salvadoran immigrants living in the United States, the humanitarian program allowing them to live and work in the U.S. since a pair of earthquakes devastated El Salvador in 2001. Yesterday, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory for El Salvador, cautioning Americans “do not travel” to the country due to "violent crime, such as murder, assault, rape, and armed robbery, [being] common" – "gang activity, such as extortion, violent street crime, and narcotics and arms trafficking, is widespread" – "local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents." “President Trump’s termination of the TPS status of Salvadoran immigrants living in the U.S. is heartless. It will break up countless families whose children were born here and are citizens. It goes against the very concerns raised in the State Department’s travel advisory warning Americans not to travel to El Salvador,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert S. McCaw. In response to the Trump Administration canceling the TPS status of an immigrant community whose native country still poses a significant safety risk -- and the cancellation of TPS status for Syrian and Yemini immigrants in the U.S. up for reconsideration on March 31 and September 3, 2018 CAIR is urging all Americans to call the Department of Homeland Security Public Comment Line at 202-282-8495 and leave the following message seeking the re-designation of Syrian and Yemini immigrant’s TPS status. There are about 6,200 Syrian and 800 Yemen immigrants with TPS in the U.S., with both nationalities granted protection in response to ongoing armed conflicts and civil unrest in their home counties. [CAIR]

Father ripped from family's arms in latest ICE atrocity
Jan 15:
As the brutal attack on immigrant families and communities by President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress continues, the video of a husband and father being ripped from the arms of his wife and two teenage kids and deported
today —which happened to be Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—offers the last up-close and personal example of what the GOP's cruel and far-reaching policies look like in practice. As the Detroit Free Press reports: His arms wrapped around his wife and two teenage children, Jorge Garcia's eyes welled up this morning as he looked into their eyes one last time near the entrance to the airport security gate at Detroit Metro Airport. His wife, Cindy Garcia, cried out while his daughter, Soleil, 15, sobbed into Garcia's shoulder as they hugged. Two U.S. immigration agents kept a close watch nearby. After 30 years of living in the U.S, Garcia, a 39-year-old Lincoln Park landscaper, was deported on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday from metro Detroit to Mexico, a move supporters say was another example of immigrants being unfairly targeted under the Trump administration. The scene at the airport, with immigration officials standing to the side to escort Garcia onto a plane, was caught in aheart-wrenching video. [Common Dreams]

Continued on next page

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