NYPD Sued…

A group of New York City Muslims represented by a coalition of civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the New York City Police Department to stop activities the plaintiffs say amount to spying.

NYPD officers watch a parade

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

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“When a police department turns law-abiding people into suspects because they go to a mosque and not a church or a synagogue, it violates our Constitution’s guarantees of equality and religious freedom,” wrote Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project. “No one questions that the NYPD has a job to do, but spying on innocent New Yorkers because of their religion is a wrong and ineffective way to do it. We are asking the court to end the NYPD’s unconstitutional religious discrimination.”

Last year, the civil rights group Muslim Advocates filed a lawsuit to put a halt to the NYPD program, which is still ongoing.

She’s baaack…


Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin in New York City (2010) photo courtesy David Shankbone via Flickr

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An extended hibernation hasn’t done anything to dull Sarah Palin’s populist barbs. ABC News reports that Palin, speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference, criticized President Obama’s decision to arm rebels in Syria and said instead America should “Let Allah sort it out.”  

Virginia cabby attacked, again…

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is asking prosecutors to bring charges against Jennifer Crabbe of Ashburn, Va. after her anti-Islamic rant against a Muslim cab driver was caught on a 911 call. Last month, an airline industry executive harassed and punched a Muslim cab driver and military veteran in Northern Virginia.

Righteous Reverend…

When Alabama voters go to the polls next year, one of the issues they’ll consider is whether to add an amendment to the state constitution prohibiting judges from considering Shariah and other foreign laws. If Alabama voters pass the measure, which state legislators approved May 20, Alabama would become the seventh state with such a measure.

While supporters say these measures only reaffirm American law, the Rev. Richard Killmer, a Presbyterian minister and executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, said the measures are nothing but efforts to harass Muslims in America.

Mosque Battles…

Muslims in a rural section of San Bernadino County claim residents opposed to a new mosque are motivated not by sewage issues.

“I believe that the issue is not the septic tank but rather Islamophobia,” Rashid Ahmed, the chairman of Al-Nur Islamic Center, told the local paper. “They think Islam is coming to their neighborhood and it’s going to destroy their culture.”

Taliban Talk…

Taliban fighters

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (April 11, 2011) – Taliban fighters meet with Government of the Republic of Afghanistan officials in Kandahar City, April 11, 2011, and peacefully surrendered their arms as part of the government’s peace and reintegration process. Photo by Major James Crawford courtesy isafmedia via Flickr

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Why would the United States decide to start talking with the Taliban while simultaneously preparing to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan? To get the Taliban and the Hamid Karzai’s government in Kabul to come to an agreement on what the future of this country might look like, commentators say. But the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation in London and the New America Foundation in Washington warn in a new report that past negotiations with Afghan insurgents have been characterized by “wishful thinking and a lack of strategic direction.”

New dawn in Iran

Now that Iranians have elected Hassan Rouhani as their new president, what are the chances Iran will achieve domestic stability and try to reengage with America and other Western powers? A pair of Iran experts writing for the consulting agency Stratfor, say the chances are better than they’ve been in a long while.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani

New Iranian president, Hassan Rouhaniphoto by BotMultichillT (User:Mojtaba Salimi) via Wikimedia Commonsthe chances are better than they’ve been in a long while.

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Egyptians cooling on Brotherhood…

A new poll of more than 5,000 Egyptians suggests that Egyptian society is sharply divided, with only a minority of people supporting the government of Mohammed Morsi. The Arab American Institute poll also notes that while the country has many political parties, there are three basic camps, which he calls The Islamic Tendency, The Organized Oppositionists, and the Silent Disaffected Plurality. 

Turkish protest music…

The protests in Turkey have spawned music. When Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan derided the protestors as “chapulchus,” which in Turkish means vandals, the protestors turned the insult into a badge of honor, and the name of the music that is this protest movement’s sound track. Listen here.

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