MOOZWEEK: Counterterrorism quackery * Shariah law * Resisting Islamophobia

A weekly roundup of news about Muslims:


NYPD officers watch a parade

NYPD officers watching a parade in New York (2010). Photo courtesy Pim Stouten via Flickr

This image available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Counterterrorism Quackery?

The NYPD fishes for terrorists in mosques while real terrorists get away. That’s the worry of Muslims and non-Muslims after the AP reported Wednesday that the NYPD labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations so they could open “Terrorist Enterprise Investigations.” According to the report, the TEI label means anyone who enters the mosques – presumably, grandmothers visiting from India, babies born in America, non-Muslims attending interfaith events – are fair game for NYPD surveillance, which can run indefinitely. The TEI label also allows police to record sermons and use informants to spy on mosque – and we know how well informants work.

Muslim Advocates and the Center for Constitutional Rights reminded people that the NYPD spying program had not yielded a single lead, while the Arab-American Association of New York, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and several other groups accused the NYPD of profiling.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly

Muslim groups have called for the resignation of New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly after the NYD admitted to screening a controversial film about Islam to 1,500 officers, and targeting Shiite mosques for surveillance. RNS photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection

For many, the latest TEI  revelations, bring into question the NYPD’s counter-terrorism competence. While the NYPD seems to think alienating Muslims is good counterterrorism strategy, police in Los Angeles have been doing the opposite.

If you’re disturbed by the NYPD’s actions, don’t worry, NYPD top cop Ray Kelly may soon step down…possibly to become head of the Department of Homeland Security


Race-baiting Okie

U.S. district court Judge Vicki Miles LaGrange is biased in favor of minorities. Why else would she strike down a 2010 Oklahoma state constitutional amendment that would have forbidden judges from considering Shariah law in their decisions? Or so the amendment’s co-author, Rex Duncan, believes. 

McCrory allows anti-Shariah bill

North Carolina became the seventh state in America to prohibit judges from considering Shariah law in their decisions after Governor Pat McCrory neither signed nor vetoed an anti-foreign law bill, allowing it to become law. Unlike the in-your-face-discrimination of Question 755, the authors of subsequent anti-Shariah law bills were savvier, prohibiting foreign laws without singling out Shariah. At least a few Islamic law experts worry these laws, by prohibiting judges from recognizing Shariah marriage contracts, could make it easier for deadbeat husbands to escape alimony and child support obligations.  

McCrory’s move was criticized by Shoulder to Shoulder, an interfaith group. “Those who would mischaracterize Islamic law and practices should be deterred from seeking to preserve such prejudices in the laws of our land, not supported,” as McCrory has done.

Mass vandalism

Some people besmirch religion by using it to justify violence, and some people besmirch the U.S.A. by using it to express hate, as a recent case involving the Islamic Center of Burlington, Mass. shows.

Bad for Boise

Boise isn’t just a steak and potatoes town, as evidenced by the popularity of Mazzah, a Mediterranean restaurant owned by Muslims. So is it a dislike of garlic, or Islamophobia, that is behind the repeated vandalism against the popular eatery?


Anti-Muslim writer Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

This image available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Islamophobes head north

Toronto’s Beth Avraham Yosef Congregation, which claims to be Canada’s largest Orthodox congregation, is rolling out the welcome mat for Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, both listed as hate bloggers by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Senior Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin will give the introduction to their talk, The Dangers of Islamic Extremism and Western Complacency, is scheduled for September 17, at the Hilton Suites and Convention Centre in Markham, Ontario.

It might also be a good chance for Spencer to peddle his new pamphlet, “Islam: Religion of Bigots.”

Non-Muslims fed-up with anti-Muslim bigots

For all the anti-Muslim bigotry across the country, there are countless examples of non-Muslims condemning this bigotry, as this recent letter from a Florida news consumer shows. And if you’re about to say Muslims need to condemn terrorism, like Congressman Mike Pompeo, check this, or this, or this.

Hassan sentenced to death

Major Nidal Hasan

The 2007 picture provided by the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences shows Nidal Malik Hasan when he entered the program for his Disaster and Military Psychiatry Fellowship. Authorities said he went on the killing spree at Fort Hood, Texas which left 13 people dead. Photo courtesy Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (a component of the United States Department of Defense’s Military Health System) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Death yes, martyrdom no. Prosecutors seeking the death penalty against Major Nidal Hasan, the army psychiatrist who killed 13 fellow soldiers in Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009, argued successfully against concerns that executing Hasan would make him a martyr. “He is not giving his life. We are taking it,” they said.  

Shady tree, beautiful photos

Screenshot from In The Shade Of The Tree

Screenshot of “In the Shade of the Tree” trailer courtesy Peter Sanders via YouTube

If you like photography, then you may want to check out “In The Shade of the Tree: A Photographic Essay through the Muslim World,” by Peter Sanders. Looking at these beautiful photos, faith, funky, spiritual, and stunning are some of the words that come to mind. For a preview, check out this 5-minute video, in which Sanders provides interesting anecdotes and background about his photos.


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