CAIR-ST. LOUIS: FORUM TO FOCUS ON MUSLIMS' RIGHTS IN POST-SEPT. 11 NATION

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, then Attorney General John Ashcroft ordered the FBI to detain anyone who may have been in contact with the men who were involved in hijacking three planes and crashing them in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and killing more than 2,700 people.

Agents arrested close to 5,000 Arab and Muslim men, about 800 of whom were charged with violations of U.S. immigration laws. Most of the men were eventually released or deported. However, five years after his arrest, Ali Partovi still sits in an Arizona detention center.

The story of these men is told in "Persons of Interest," a 2004 documentary by Alison Maclean and Tobias Perse that features interviews with the detainees and their families. Portions of the film will be shown tonight at Ragtag Cinemacafe, as part of a presentation by Gulten Ilhan, a professor of philosophy at St. Louis Community College at Meramec and an expert on Islam and interfaith relationships.

"Targeting Muslim Rights: Private Provocation and Public Action" will focus on the civil rights of Muslims in America since Sept. 11, and how the media, religious leaders, politicians and others portray people of Islamic faith in the U.S.

"This is about public education," said Ilhan, who is the vice president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in St. Louis. "Because I look at myself as the new Jew, the new Black, or the new Japanese. There is still a lot of racial profiling and many people are suffering because of their religious beliefs."

CAIR is also offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever may have caused today's fire. The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization is in touch with the FBI about the case.

Fire officials are investigating the second fire at the Islamic Society of Joplin this summer. The blaze, which engulfed the entire structure, was reported early Monday. Mosque officials tell CAIR the facility, valued at an estimated $600,000, had been targeted by bias-motivated incidents a number of times in the past.

A small fire at the same building in July was determined to be arson. At that time, CAIR called for state and federal hate crime investigations of the fire.

CAIRVideo of Apparent Arson Attack on Missouri Mosque

Yesterday, CAIR issued a statement expressing the Muslim community's solidarity with Sikhs following a deadly shooting at a house of worship of that faith in Wisconsin.

VideoCAIR Stands with Sikhs After Wis. Shootings

The alleged perpetrator of that act of domestic terrorism reportedly had a "9/11 tattoo on one arm." CAIR noted that Sikh men who wear beards and turbans as part of their faith are often targeted by bigots who mistake them for Muslims.

SEEGunman's Tattoos Lead Officials to Deem Sikh Shooting Terrorism
Gunman 
Had 9/11 Tattoo on One Arm (CNN)
Alleged Sikh Temple Shooter 
Former Member of Skinhead Band

"These disturbing incidents point to the urgent need for increased police protection for Muslim and Sikh houses of worship nationwide," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "If left unchallenged, religious intolerance can and does harm innocent people."

Because of these two most recent incidents targeting American houses of worship, and because of previous attacks on American mosques, CAIR is urging religious leaders nationwide to review advice on security procedures contained in its "Muslim Community Safety Kit."

CAIRMosque Attacks Common Nationwide

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.

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CONTACT: CAIR-St. Louis Executive Director Faizan Syed, 636-207-8882, 314-330-2946, E-Mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; CAIR

The House (and the Senate, which had already passed the bill), didn’t stop there. It also passed two of Mr. Nieves’ bills based purely on conspiracy theories. The first, Senate Bill 267, while never mentioning Sharia Law specifically, is meant to solve a nonexistent problem in Missouri, the application ofany “foreign” laws that might be “repugnant” to the state in the court system.

The law exists solely to send an anti-Muslim message. It’s hateful. It’s repugnant on its face. It passed with nearly every Republican in the Missouri Legislature voting for it.

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CAIR-ST. LOUIS: MUSLIM DOCTORS HERE CONDEMN UK ATTACKS

Muslim doctors here say they are trying to be more vocal in denouncing terrorism. They condemned the "crazies" who are "misguided" and did those acts.

"If we keep quiet, we become kind of a silent supporter of that, although we are not," said Dr. Ghazala Hayat, a professor of neurology at St. Louis University. "This is actually sickening and shocking to doctors, that this would happen.". . .

On Friday, about 20 Muslim doctors who practice medicine in the St. Louis area gathered for a news conference in the lecture hall at the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis, 517 Weidman Road. The turnout represented about 10 percent of the 200 or so local Muslim doctors.

"I just hope to appeal to the general public, not to develop into a mob tendency, having received these messages from abroad," said Dr. Noor Ahmed, a plastic surgeon.

Ahmed is president of the St. Louis chapter of the Islamic Medical Association of North America. If the public is fearful or distrustful of all Muslim physicians, the terrorists will have won, Ahmed said. . .

The local chapter of a Muslim civil liberties group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, helped coordinate the news conference. Some other council chapters across the country have made similar denouncements, but Friday's news conference here was not timed as part of a national effort to speak out, organizers say.

British Muslim communities have taken out newspaper ads condemning the bomb plots.

Dr. Khaled Hamid, an allergist who has offices in St. Charles and Des Peres, said Muslims have felt a backlash before - and now he hopes being a physician won't be a "double whammy," of sorts.

"As a community, we are in pain. As a physician, we are in twice the pain," said Hamid, who is a board member for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

In an interview, Hamid added: "We are tired of being labeled because of a few idiots among us who do these things."

What's going on in Britain demonstrates that bad people can be found in health care, just like any other job, Hamid said.

"We have the crazies amongst us, like any other profession," Hamid said.

Hamid cited examples of non-Muslim doctors doing harm, including those who helped Nazis conduct medical experiments on Jews, and, he said, a podiatrist who plotted to bomb a mosque in Florida in 2002 in revenge for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

CAIR: 2 DOCTORS HELD IN BRITISH BOMB PLOTS HAD LOOKED TO U.S.

Dr. Khaled Hamid, an Egyptian-born allergy and asthma specialist, helped organize a news conference of local Muslim physicians in St. Louis on Friday to denounce the terrorist plots in Britain. When he heard that those arrested in Britain were doctors, Dr. Hamid said in an interview, "I felt sick. The idea that a physician would participate in that is incomprehensible to me."

He and others called the news conference to "make it very clear where we stand," said Dr. Hamid, who is active in the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "We're hurt as Muslims and as physicians who believe sacred life must be protected."

Silence, he said, "can wrongly be interpreted as approval."

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