US Companies Aim Advertising At Muslim Americans

24 09 2007
US Companies Aim Advertising at Muslim Americans
By Mohamed Elshinnawi
Washington
19 September 2007

Watch Advertising for Muslims / Windows Broadband  video clip
Watch Advertising for Muslims / Windows Dialup  video clip

A recent study by the nation’s largest advertising firm shows that the Muslim American community has an estimated purchasing power of about $170 billion. JWT Advertising conducted the study, and it is now working with a wide variety of companies to develop strategies to attract Muslim American customers. VOA’s Mohamed Elshinnawi examined the new trend in Dearborn, Michigan, near Detroit, where there is a dense population of Muslims.

These children are participating in an advertising campaign
The six to eight million Muslims in the U.S. are beginning to be sought after by marketers and consumer goods manufacturers

JWT Advertising says companies in the Detroit area are leading the way in using the cultural aspects of the Muslim faith to expand their share of the Muslim American market.

Ann Mack is JWT’s director of trends spotting. “Some marketers — I am not going to name them specifically — are having Ramadan advertisements,” she says, “and because they are speaking specifically to these populations, they will appeal, they will resonate and those consumers will tend to gravitate towards these brands.”

The study shows that the six to eight million Muslims in the United States are looking for recognition and respect, and that companies should make sure they are not neglecting or offending their community.

One company that is not is the Swedish furniture company IKEA. It has a store near Dearborn that initially attracted few Muslim shoppers. So the company consulted with Nasser Baydoun, Chairman of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce. He recalls, “What we were able to do was to teach them how to market to our community — how does our community get its information, how do they choose which store they go to and how does IKEA create a working staff that is friendly to the community.”

Ikea staff benefited from the diversity training, and became familiar with the Muslim community’s needs. Lisa Allen is IKEA’s public relations director. “When we are speaking to Arab Americans,” she says, “we can connect with them on that level, talk about their needs. For IKEA, it is all about how our product solutions fit your needs and your life style.”

A team of the company’s designers and marketers visited Muslim Americans’ homes to see how to adapt the stores’ products to customers’ customs and preferences. One plan is to offer decorations for the holy month of Ramadan and to add halal meals to the store’s food menu. Muslim American shopper Ismail Hakki says he is looking forward to seeing such offerings. “Like decorations for Ramadan, for the Eid [celebration after Ramadan] too, like some [halal] food or some cloth for the Eid.

Muslim-Americans, wear clothes which are marketed to everyone
Muslim Americans wear clothes that are marketed to everyone, as well as items specifically for them

Other companies are planning innovative approaches to cater to Muslim Americans’ needs. Amal Berry is the vice president of Comerica Bank. “Currently we are underway in a research project to understand exactly what Sharia law [Islamic law] says and whether the bank will be able to provide true Islamic bank products and services.”

McDonald’s in Detroit is offering halal chicken, Rite-Aide drug stores have Arabic signs and Comcast cable network is carrying the first nationwide Muslim American TV channel.

Fred Eaton is Comcast’s director of corporate affairs. “Comcast offered Bridges TV the opportunity for carriage on our cable system. In fact, Detroit was the market where Bridges TV was first launched,” he explained.

Marketing experts say advertising for the Muslim American community is a win-win situation. They say American companies will use it to expand their market share, while Muslim Americans will enjoy recognition and respect.

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More on Muslims 9/11, Terrorism, Bin Laden Video

12 09 2007

ISLAM-OPED: 9/11 EVOKES PAINFUL MEMORIES FOR U.S. MUSLIM – TOP

ISLAM-OPED is a national syndication service of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) designed to offer an American Muslim perspective on current political, social and religious issues. ISLAM-OPED commentaries are offered free-of-charge to one media outlet in each market area. Permission for publication will be granted on a first-come-first-served basis.

CONTACT: ihooper@cair.com
TEL: Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726 (c)

Please consider the following commentary for publication.

ISLAM-OPED: 9/11 EVOKES PAINFUL MEMORIES FOR U.S. MUSLIM
By Danette Zaghari-Mask
WORD COUNT: 471

[Danette Zaghari-Mask is executive director of the Orlando chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Orlando). CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group. Contact her at: dmask@cair.com For a photo, see: http://www.cair.com/Chapters.aspx#Orlando]

On the anniversary of 9/11, the memory of those once full of life evoke painful thoughts. I cringe at the panic that they must have endured, and join the mourning of fellow Americans who lost loved ones.

Even if we did not know someone directly effected by the tragedy, we know where we were when the towers fell or when the Pentagon was hit.
I delivered my first child 13 days after 9/11. In the days leading up to his birth, I wept.

I wept as a human, as an American and as a Muslim sickened by the reports of militants who claimed “victory” under the banner of Islam.
I gave birth and then cried as a mother for having endured, only to bring a new life into such a troubled world.

Since that time, opportunities have arisen to speak to my fellow Americans about Islam and Muslims. I, like millions of Muslims across the world, stood in solidarity against terrorism and a firm conviction that Islam, by its very definition, rejects terrorism.
Islam is an Arabic word that translates as “peace through submission to God.”

Those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks did not discriminate between people of different faiths; rather, they discriminated against every person who did not submit to their twisted ideology.

The perpetrators of 9/11, and those with an agenda to silence the moderate Muslim majority, want us all to believe that Islam itself is the instigator of terror. If we can defeat those ideas in our own minds, we can defeat the mesmerizing effect of those who seek interfaith division and discord.

There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims in the world who overwhelmingly desire peace and look to Islam for inspiration.

I am teaching my son the Quran, the Muslim holy book. He is learning that if someone kills another it is “as though he has slain all mankind, and he who saved one life should be regarded as though he has saved the lives of all mankind” (5:32).

He is learning the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad: “The best jihad is saying a word of truth in the court of an unjust ruler” and a believer is one “in whom all of mankind has a sanctuary for its life and property.”

Today, I have more optimism and more reasons to be hopeful than six years ago.
My son celebrated his birthday early this year with contagious courage and spirit. His smile is so wide I think sometimes it will touch the creases of his brown eyes.

He and all of our children are, after all, the possibility beyond the borderline that creates “us” and “them.” The memory of 9/11 motivates me to raise my son to achieve his full potential.

Our children are seeds of peace and, with the right nurturing, future friends of peace.

—–

CAIR: U.S. MUSLIM GROUP BLASTS BIN LADEN VIDEO – TOP
United Press International, 9/11/07
http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/Top_News/2007/09/11/us_muslim_group_blasts_bin_laden_video/6189/

A Washington-based U.S. Muslim advocacy group Tuesday condemned a new video in which Osama bin Laden praises a Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist.

Posted on Islamic Web sites, the video does not show bin Laden but has a still photo of the al-Qaida founder and about 14 minutes of bin Laden purportedly talking about one of the hijackers.

Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the hijackings and the suicide airliner attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon near Washington six years ago.

“The despicable actions of the 9/11 hijackers should be repudiated by all Muslims, not praised as examples to follow,” a statement from the Council on American-Islamic Relations said. “There can be no moral, ethical or religious justification for such cowardly attacks on innocent civilians. CAIR joins with Americans of all faiths in mourning the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and asks that we all use today’s anniversary to enhance our efforts to repudiate religious extremism and to promote mutual understanding.” (MORE)

SEE ALSO:

CAIR-NY: MUSLIMS MOURN 9/11 VICTIMS – TOP

(NEW YORK, NY, 9/11/2007) — The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) participated in a moment of silence for the victims of the 9/11 attacks at Sunday’s “Muslim Day Parade” in that city.

Hundreds marched down Madison Avenue to celebrate their commitment to interfaith peace and tolerance. CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif joined Senator Bill Perkins, Councilmember Robert Jackson and other community leaders to address parade attendees.

“CAIR-NY mourns with all Americans over the tragedy at Ground Zero,” said CAIR-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza Ali. “We send our sincere condolences to the families of 9/11 victims. Their loved ones will not be forgotten.”

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. 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.

CONTACT: CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif, 212-870-2002, 732-429-4268, alatif@cair.com

CAIR-AZ: READERS REFLECT ON LIFE 6 YEARS AFTER 9/11 – TOP
Arizona Republic, 9/11/07
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/0911911reflections.html

Initially, Fawzia Tung didn’t think the attacks on Sept. 11 really affected her life. She was wrong. She soon realized it had a big impact on the way she viewed her religion.

Tung, 50, is a Chinese Muslim living in Phoenix and working for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. But it was only after the attacks that Tung unconsciously took her life down a more politically active path.

At the time of the attacks, Tung was a stay-at-home mom to seven children. She felt very free living in the U.S., able to practice her faith openly. She had no qualms about wearing her scarf in public because nobody paid any notice. But things changed the day the four planes crashed.

“Right after it happened, I was terribly conscious I was wearing a scarf,” she said. “I felt like everybody was looking at me.”

Her husband urged her to stay home if she could. He would do the grocery shopping, a monumental offer. For Tung, it was stay home or heed her husband’s advice to go out without her scarf, an option she had never until that moment considered.

“I know a number of friends who took it (the scarf) off right after 9/11,” she said.

Tung was conflicted. She always considered her relationship with Allah a private one. But her scarf became a symbol in the wake of the attacks.

“It was never a social thing before. All of a sudden it became something different,” Tung said.

A woman at a garage sale told Tung she supported her and held no ill will toward Muslims.

She decided to stand tall for her religion. Tung went to work at an Islamic school and later joined the staff at CAIR.

Looking back, Tung believes the social effects of the attacks had a positive influence on her.

“I didn’t do anything particularly Islamic before that,” she said. “I was just living my life.”

CAIR: A HIJACKED IDENTITY: MUSLIM AMERICAN REFLECTS ON SEPT. 11 – TOP
National Public Radio, 9/11/07

LISTEN: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14318955

The events of Sept. 11 changed the lives of many Americans, including American Muslims. Arsalan Iftikhar, a regular contributor, and former representative to the Council on American Islamic Relations, explains how the attacks impacted his work as a spokesman for Muslim Americans in the national media.

CAIR-CA REP REFLECTS ON EFFECTS OF 9/11 – TOP
Munira Syeda, Orange County Register, 9/11/07
http://www.ocregister.com/life/style-span-font-1840625-bold-weight

Scurrying about my Berkeley apartment six years ago, I was preparing to leave for a journalism conference in Lake Tahoe. I turned on the TV, and noticed morning news programs running footage of the collapsing Twin Towers. On first impulse, I dismissed the coverage as a faraway international disaster.

Soon, reality hit me. Grief over loss of 3,000 innocent lives replaced indifference, and then quickly gave way to fear. I cringed, secretly praying – God, don’t let it be Muslims. Before long, America learned al-Qaida was behind the attacks.

Over the years, I have spent considerable time educating co-workers, friends and strangers about the basic tenets of Islam, its principles of respect, brotherhood, establishment of human rights and peace and justice. However, I have also observed tremendous backlash against all things Muslim.

From prejudice to discrimination to outright hatred, the American Muslim community has been targeted frequently by a minority who view American Muslims as the “other.” In fact, a USA Today/Gallup Poll conducted last year shows strong feelings against Muslims. Nearly 40 percent of the respondents claimed having at least some prejudice toward Muslims. Another estimated 40 percent also favored having Muslims bear special identification to prevent future terror attacks on our soil.

Despite that, there also has been much support and sympathy offered to the Muslim community after 9/11. Japanese Americans, the Latino and African American communities, Christian, Jewish and other faith observers have stood by Muslims during difficult times. They too had personally experienced, or witnessed discrimination and prejudice promoted against various other minorities. Native Americans were driven out of their homeland, Blacks were enslaved and segregated against, and Japanese Americans were interned. As new immigrants, Jews, Asians, Italians and Catholics weren’t treated any better either.

As I write this column, I ponder the post 9/11 world we live in. I think about the irrational fear that has gripped us and impacts our judgment. The continued civil rights violations and the controversial Patriot Act, the aggressive call for profiling of Muslims and Arabs at airports and other places, the misadventure in Iraq, and the political turmoil the Bush Administration is embroiled in are all examples of this fear.

We proudly claim how 9/11 has not changed us or our values. Let us look around, though. We are now a nation consumed by an alarming level of polarization. The Democrat and the Republican split, the pro-war/anti-war camps, and the conservative versus liberal factions are a symptom of the deeper unrest and anxiety challenging our society.

Nonetheless, I believe in America as a great country for not only Muslims but people of all backgrounds and colors. Our nation’s greatness lies in the founding principles of pluralism, inclusion and equality for all.

Americans used to converse with each other. We used to dialogue. Now, we bicker. We compete in who can shout louder. We feel so threatened by the other side that we quickly attempt to silence it.

We must change our ways. We must make a concerted effort to change our un-American policies and attitudes. Otherwise, we will have allowed al-Qaida to redefine America, and not for the better.

[Munira Syeda is Communications Coordinator for Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area.]

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAIR CONDEMNS BIN LADEN’S PRAISE FOR 9/11 HIJACKER
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/11/07) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today condemned a new video by Osama bin Laden in which the terror leader eulogizes a 9/11 hijacker.

In a statement, the Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group said:

“The despicable actions of the 9/11 hijackers should be repudiated by all Muslims, not praised as examples to follow. There can be no moral, ethical or religious justification for such cowardly attacks on innocent civilians. CAIR joins with Americans of all faiths in mourning the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and asks that we all use today’s anniversary to enhance our efforts to repudiate religious extremism and to promote mutual understanding. ”

CAIR issued a joint American Muslim statement of condemnation within hours of the 9/11 attacks and published a similar statement in a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post just days later.

SEE: CAIR Full Page Advertisement, Sunday, September 16, 2001, Washington Post
SEE ALSO: U.S. Muslims Repudiate Rhetoric, Worldview of Al-Qaeda (CAIR)

To read about CAIR’s other anti-terror initiatives, go to:
http://www.cair.com/AmericanMuslims/AntiTerrorism.aspx

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. 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.

– END –





An American Muslim speaks about 9/11 and Bin Laden’s latest video-Full Length Version

11 09 2007

Dr. Ali Shehata’s response to the endless stream of bin Laden threats that have yet to be answered by anyone else. This is the full length version.





Acid Bomb Thrown near Worshippers At AZ Mosque & Safety Tips for Muslims

8 08 2007

CAIR: ‘ACID BOMB’ THROWN NEAR WORSHIPERS AT AZ MOSQUE
Apparent targets include imam threatened for suing US Airways for bias

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/8/07) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that an “acid bomb” was thrown near worshipers outside an Arizona mosque early Monday morning. CAIR is calling on local and national law enforcement authorities to investigate the incident as a possible bias-motivated attack.

According to eyewitnesses and local police (case# 07-92489), a container of acid and a reactant was thrown out of a car window and landed near an imam (Islamic religious leader) and another mosque official who were standing outside the Albanian American Islamic Center of Arizona in Glendale, Ariz., at about 1 a.m. on August 6. The plastic bottle landed within 20-25 feet of the apparent targets, who reported a chemical smell after the container exploded. No one was injured in the attack.

One of the two men outside the mosque was an imam who had recently been threatened because he is party to a discrimination lawsuit against US Airways over an incident last fall in Minnesota.

SEE: Letter Threatens Lawyer, Families of Imams Suing US Airways (CAIR)

A Glendale police official told CAIR that his department is giving the investigation a “high priority” and that they are not ruling out a bias motive. Arizona does not have a hate crimes statute, but a bias motive can be used to obtain a longer sentence after a conviction.

“We appreciate the professional response of local law enforcement authorities and urge the FBI to add its resources to the investigation,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

Hooper is urging Muslim individuals and institutions nationwide to review security procedures using advice contained in CAIR’s “Muslim Community Safety Kit.” (See excerpts from the safety kit below.)

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.

– END –


—–

EXCERPTS FROM CAIR MUSLIM COMMUNITY SAFETY KIT

REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Muslims must do their part to ensure the safety and security of our nation. If anyone notes suspicious persons or activities in their community, they should report it immediately to the local Field Office of the FBI. SEE: http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm

DEVELOP A LEGAL CONTACT LIST

Develop a list of attorneys who are willing to be consulted by the Muslim community in response to backlash incidents. Ask Muslim attorneys to volunteer their services to community members during this time of crisis.

DEVELOP POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES

Community leaders should immediately coordinate meetings between representatives of the Muslim community and local, state and national law enforcement agencies. These meetings should focus on ways in which the community can help national security and on how authorities can protect Muslims and Arab-Americans from harassment and discrimination.

MEET WITH ELECTED OFFICIALS TO DISCUSS COMMUNITY CONCERNS

Delegations of Muslim representatives should schedule meetings with local, state and national elected representatives or their key staff to discuss community concerns. To find out who represents your area on the national level, go to: http://www.capwiz.com/cair/home/

BUILD COALITIONS WITH INTERFAITH AND MINORITY GROUPS

Similar meetings should be coordinated with representatives of local interfaith and minority groups. These meetings should focus on building lines of communication and support, and hearing from these groups how they deal with discrimination and bigotry.

MEET WITH LOCAL SCHOOL PRINCIPALS TO DISCUSS STUDENT SAFETY

Representatives of the Muslim community should meet with local school administrators to discuss safety plans for students and to sensitize the administrators to harassment of Muslim students.

BUILD AN EMERGENCY CONTACT LIST

Community leaders should develop emergency e-mail and phone contact lists to be used in case of an incident that threatens the community’s safety. Local imams, Islamic center board members, and Muslim activists should be on the lists.

A second list should be developed containing contact information for all local law enforcement agencies.

HOLD A COMMUNITY MEETING TO INFORM OTHERS OF SAFETY GUIDELINES

Call for a meeting of the local Muslim community to discuss the information outlined in this kit. The meeting should take place at a local mosque or Islamic center and should be advertised using the emergency contact list.

ESTABLISH A COMMUNITY SUPPORT NETWORK

Establish a network of community members who can offer emotional and material support to those who may be the victims of hate crimes or discrimination. Victims should not be left alone to deal with the negative impact of such incidents.

REACT TO INCIDENTS OF ANTI-MUSLIM HATE

If you believe you have been the victim of an anti-Muslim hate crime or discrimination, you should:

1. Report the incident to your local police station and FBI office IMMEDIATELY. Ask that the incident be treated as a hate crime. Ask witnesses to give you their name and contact information.
2. Inform CAIR even if you believe it is a “small” incident. Incidents may be reported online at: http://www.cair.com/ireport/ or TEL: 202-488-8787, FAX: 202-488-0833, E-MAIL: info@cair.com
3. Document the incident. Write down exactly what was said and/or done by the offender. Save evidence. Take photographs.
4. Act quickly. Each incident must be dealt with when it happens, not when convenient.
5. Decide on the appropriate action to be taken. Consider issuing a statement from community leaders, holding a news conference, organizing a protest, meeting with officials, or starting a letter writing campaign.
6. Mobilize community support. Contact CAIR and a local mosque or organization.
7. Stay on top of the situation.
8. Announce results. When the incident is resolved, make an announcement to the same people and organizations originally contacted.

CAIR MOSQUE SECURITY GUIDELINES

Areas of Vulnerability:

* Mosques located in isolated areas.
* Mosques left unattended for extended periods of time.
* Mosques with unsecured doors and/or windows.
* Absence of a burglar alarm system.
* Heavy exterior vegetation (shrubs, etc.) in which criminals may hide.
* Absence of exterior lighting.

Take the following safety measures:

* Build good relationships with neighbors of the mosque. Invite them to visit your center.
* Try to have people attend the mosque as much as possible. Activity deters perpetrators.
* Make an appointment with the community relations officer of your local police department to tour your center and make suggestions on improving mosque security.
* Request additional police patrols in the vicinity of your center. Special attention should be paid to times of darkness and during prayers.
* Consider creating a security committee at your mosque.
* Post mosque members at entrances and parking areas during prayer times.
* Report suspicious packages to police. Do not touch them.
* Install perimeter floodlights outside the mosque.
* Install fire and burglar alarm systems.
* Replace hollow core doors with more secure solid doors.
* Install burglarproof bars on screens and large vents. (Note – Research local ordinances before beginning security renovations. For example, window bars should not limit evacuation in case of fire.)
* Trim shrubs and vines to reduce areas of concealment.
* Participate in neighborhood watch programs.
* Document descriptions of suspicious people or vehicles.
* Make duplicates of all important papers, computer disks and records.
* Remove potential fire hazards, such as trash and debris.
* Consider installing security cameras.

RESPONDING TO BOMB THREATS

1. Distribute written instructions on handling bomb threats.
2. Keep the caller on the line as long as possible. Ask that the message be repeated. Record or write down everything that is said.
3. Ask for the location of the bomb.
4. Inform the caller that the detonation of a bomb could hurt many innocent people.
5. Pay attention to background noises such as music, which may give a clue to the caller’s location.
6. Listen closely to the caller’s voice. Make note of accents, voice quality (calm, excited) or speech impediments.
7. Report the threat immediately to the local police, ATF and FBI. Have appropriate phone numbers listed in written instructions.
8. If the threat comes in the form of a letter, save all materials, including the envelope. Handle the letter as little as possible.
9. Search the interior and exterior of the mosque. Evacuate the building if a suspicious package or device is found.

SUSPECT LETTERS AND PACKAGES

* What to look for:
* Name and title of addressee are not accurate.
* No return address, or the sender is not known to the addressee.
* Handwriting is distorted.
* Unprofessionally wrapped, uneven, bulky, lopsided.
* Contains bulges or soft spots.
* Poorly wrapped package is marked “Fragile-Handle With Care,” “Rush,” or has unusual restrictions such as “Personal” or “Private.”
* Excess amount of postage.
* Protruding wires or tin foil.
* Package makes a buzzing or ticking noise, a sloshing sound, or emits an odor.

What to do:

DON’T open the package or letter.
DON’T put it in water or in a confined space such as a drawer.
DO isolate the article and secure the immediate area.
DO open windows if possible to help vent potential explosive gases.
DO contact your local police department and Postal Inspector.





Ohio Muslim Cleared of Terrorism Allegations

7 08 2007

Investigation clears Hilliard man

Articles accused him of supporting terrorists

Monday,  August 6, 2007 3:28 AM

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Abukar Arman of Hilliard had a busy July: He cared for his four children, chaperoned Habitat for Humanity volunteers, lost his job and resigned from a Franklin County board.

He has spent most recent days denying that he is an Islamic extremist and terrorist sympathizer, and contending that fair-minded people would agree.

For the past few weeks, Arman — who served on the county’s Criminal Justice Planning Board — was under scrutiny by federal and local law enforcement.

“We did a background check and found no criminal or terrorist connections,” said county Administrator Don L. Brown. “Mr. Arman is not a person of interest.”

Before July 11, Arman was just another Somali immigrant. He taught in the Columbus Public Schools, but few at the Downtown headquarters recognized his name.

He has been a longtime volunteer on community boards, but several politicians didn’t know much about him.

They were about to learn.

Since mid-July, Arman has been the subject of three online articles at FrontPage Magazine. Edited by conservative David Horowitz, it claims 620,000 readers a month.

Arman said the articles misrepresent columns he wrote to further peace and understanding, using guilt by association to weave a tissue of suspicion.

He volunteers on the local suicide-prevention hot line but stands accused in the articles of supporting those who incite suicide bombers.

Freelance writer Patrick Poole, also of Hilliard, said his articles have exposed a terrorist-friendly network that is infiltrating central Ohio government and gaining the confidence of its leaders.

High in this plan, Poole argues, is Arman, a slight, soft-spoken 47-year-old who came to America in 1980 for an education.

Franklin County commissioners appointed Arman to the county’s Criminal Justice Planning Board in early 2005. That alarms Poole, who says that Arman, in his writings, has expressed support for the rule of the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia and for Youseff Al-Qaradawi, designated as a global terrorist by the United States.

Arman counters that even U.S. government officials now are talking with the Islamic Courts Union, which, despite its harsh fundamentalist rule, did stop lawlessness for a time in Somalia. He says that his writings simply point out that Al-Qaradawi is viewed by many Muslims as a moderate.

After the articles ran, FrontPage readers started sending angry e-mails to Franklin County commissioners.

Poole notes the county Web site says that the criminal justice board oversees homeland security. County officials said that is an error: The board oversees justice grants and court programs, and handles no sensitive information.

Two commissioners, Marilyn Brown and Mary Jo Kilroy, didn’t respond to Poole. The third, Paula Brooks, sent an e-mail to Brown on July 12.

“Don, I expect this to be investigated expeditiously,” Brooks wrote. “If true, these allegations are definitely grounds for removal.”

Brooks said her wording was stronger than her intention. “In hindsight, I wish that I had used the term fact-finding,” she said.

But leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, said Brooks’ reaction fed what they fear is growing into a witch hunt.

The FrontPage articles have expanded to two other central Ohio residents: Ahmad Al-Akhras, national vice chairman of CAIR and a member of the Columbus Community Relations Commission; and Asma Mobin-Uddin, a pediatrician and president of the Ohio CAIR chapter.

Brooks said she would have asked for an investigation into Arman regardless of his ethnicity or religion. Arman is Arab, African and a Muslim.

“I don’t want to see someone falsely accused,” she said. “But my concern is for the safety and security of our community. I want the facts to be reviewed. I want to make sure we have people who support our government and our way of life working for Franklin County.”

Brown said he told commissioners of his findings. A written report, he said, “isn’t appropriate due to the nature of the inquiry.”

But Arman, CAIR and Poole all had hoped for written vindication.

“No, absolutely, I am not a sympathizer in any way, shape or form for terrorism,” Arman said. He said he began writing his columns to educate people on the Muslim viewpoint, hoping to further peace.

“Read my writings,” he begs.

Poole, who moved back to Hilliard in 2005, said he was stunned at a decade’s worth of changes in his hometown, including an influx of Muslim activists.

Poole previously worked for conservative Republican research groups, including the Free Congress Foundation. His writings question how three Democratic county commissioners could appoint Arman.

“The people we’ve elected and paid, they’ve really dropped the ball,” Poole said.

Poole said he’s not anti-Muslim; he lived with a Muslim family while working in Albania. But he said Arman and his friends aren’t typical of central Ohio’s Muslims.

Al-Akhras said Poole is part of a trend to discredit Muslims who “rise up and get accepted in the community. Some people feel threatened by this. We are seeing this across the country.”

Arman lost his teaching job last month. He blames the FrontPage campaign. But a district spokesman said Arman failed to recertify his state credentials and, meanwhile, the schools lost a grant for his position as an adult-education instructor.

As the county looked into his appointment to the justice planning board, it found a clear problem. Board members are required to be “citizens of the county.” Arman, who is not a U.S. citizen, resigned Friday.

“Mr. Arman is a man of the greatest integrity, kindness and responsibility,” Mobin-Uddin said.

She recalled a visit with Arman a few years ago to the home of an ex-Marine who displayed an anti-Muslim bumper sticker.

“We stood and talked with the man on his doorstep for an hour and a half. Mr. Arman never raised his voice. He told the man, ‘You know, sir, I have four children. I’ve lived in this country for decades. If I knew someone who was going to put a bomb somewhere, I would be the first one to jump on them.’ ”

 





Dateline NBC Defends Their Decision to Plant Muslims At A NASCAR Race

4 08 2007

 ‘Dateline’ defends planting Muslims at NASCAR race

Updated 4/6/2006 11:38 PM

After bringing Muslim men to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia to gauge the reaction of NASCAR fans, Dateline NBC won’t have its cameras at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.

In a statement released Thursday, NBC defended its reporting tactics, saying “there have been a lot of inaccurate comments” and that Dateline “had barely begun its reporting.”

Dateline is not planning a story about NASCAR,” the statement said. “We are following up on a recent poll and other articles indicating an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. We are curious about whether that is true. The NASCAR race at Martinsville was a stop we have made in our research on this story.

“There is nothing new about the technique of witnessing the experience of someone who might be discriminated against in a public setting.”

NASCAR officials were angry after learning Dateline recruited Muslims to attend the DirecTV 500. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the group walked around outside the track without any reaction from fans.

“It’s outrageous that a news organization like NBC would seek to create the news instead of reporting the news,” Poston said.

NASCAR is in the final year of a contract with NBC Sports, which will broadcast the second half of the Nextel Cup season.

Seriously!?  First of all, they are clearly sterotyping NASCAR fans. My family happens to be extreme NASCAR fanatics and so are many of their friends. Many MUSLIMS I know watch NASCAR.  I have never really been partial to it myself. Though, the people I know who watch NASCAR are not backward country bumpkins or  kkk members ready to pounce on anyone who is a different race or religion. In fact, the NASCAR fans I know LOOOOOOVE their MUSLIM DAUGHTER, SISTER, AUNT, AND FRIEND!  Maybe some NASCAR fans are racist, maybe some of them would have made rude comments or even emboldened by alcohol made a physical move. I dare say, that could happen in any sport.  Look at all the fights that break out in the stands in basketball games, baseball games, hockey games, etc. Usually they involve no Muslims at all. Yet, people still find a reason to fight.It is ridiculous the amount of sterotyping that goes on in today’s world and the amount that people are willing to endure. 





Religion & TV

28 06 2007

helpwantedsign3.jpgDear friends,

I am asking for your help as a part of a survey I am conducting regarding Religion and TV habits. The questions found on this survey describe what I am studying and why. Your response to this survey is totally voluntary and anonymous, but it would be so very helpful if you do respond.

You may respond to the survey by clicking the following link:

http://www.Advanced Survey.com/ default.asp? SurveyID= 53307

(If you cannot click the link above, please copy and paste the URL in its entirety into your browser’s address bar.)

Also, if you could forward this to your friends or lists I would be so appreciative. I truly hope that this survey will point to a way where people can live in peace.

If you have any questions, please write to me and I will be happy to address any questions, concerns or comments. Thank you very much in advance. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,

Dr. Ali Shehata

****Please forward this to all your contacts****