www.amperspective.com Online Magazine
Executive Editor: Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Chronology of Islam in America (2019)
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Woman wearing hijab pepper sprayed in face on Fourth of July
July 9: The Kandiyohi County (Minnesota) Sheriff says a recent pepper spray incident in Spicer may have been racially motivated. Sheriff Eric Holien says on Independence Day a woman reported a man sprayed her in the face with a substance at Mel’s Sports Shop in Spicer, Minnesota. Authorities learned there was an interaction between the man and the woman, who was wearing a hijab at the time. During the encounter, the man reportedly made racial comments and then sprayed her in the face. After using the spray, the man ran off to a vehicle and left. This incident was one of two pepper spray incidents in Spicer on the Fourth of July. [FOX9]
Vandals target a billboard advertising an Islamic art exhibit
July 9: A billboard advertising an Islamic art exhibit at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa (Oklahoma)was vandalized today, according to the museum's director. The billboard, which has since been replaced, featured a piece of ceramic pottery and text that read, "1,200 years of Islamic Art." Someone wrote "HOME GROWN TERROR!" in black spray paint on the billboard and the one below it. Museum Director Scott Stulen said he has seen an outpouring of community support since the incident. "What's been really great is seeing the community rally behind us for this," he said. "Even if they don't necessarily want to support the museum, they don't want to see this hate in their community." The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said: "Philbrook's exhibition shows now, more than ever, the importance of our understanding and appreciation of the Muslim community, both here and abroad." Stulen said that this is the first instance of hate that the museum has seen since the exhibit's opening and that it won't deter more diverse exhibits in the future. For him, it's a way to counter ignorance surrounding people's differences. [CNN]
VP Pence Praises Pastor Who Claims U.S. Muslims are 'Not Loyal to America'
July 9: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today expressed concern at the lack of official outrage after Vice President Mike Pence praised an Islamophobic religious leader who falsely claims that "while American Muslims live in America, 82 percent are not loyal to America" and that "Islamics [sic] have centralized and out vote the American people." Yesterday, Pence praised Hagee at the Christians United for Israel Annual Washington, D.C., summit. Pence said: "To Pastor John Hagee, my thanks for your leadership and your ministry. It has made a difference for America and for Israel." According to recent findings by CAIR, Christian organizations were among the lead financiers of the Islamophobia industry. Between 2014-2016, just three organizations -- Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, the National Christian Charitable Foundation, and the Heavenly Father's Foundation -- raised almost $50 million that directly promoted anti-Muslim and Islamophobic institutions. Dozens of other Christian networks were responsible for millions more.
Islamophobic Statements by Pastor John Hagee:
(1) “Sharia is now in effect in some American cities where the Islamics [sic] have centralized and out vote the American people. For those who think it can’t happen here, it’s already happened.” (15:33)
(2) “There are 1.5 billion people who believe the Islamic faith. I recognize that only one-third of them are radical. That means there are 500 million who feel they have a mandate from God to kill you.” (24:01)
(3) “The FBI and Homeland Security confirm that there are 50 terrorist cells operating in each of the 50 states of the United States of America. Can you imagine these Islamic immigrants as the American trojan horse? Can you imagine the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens starting an orchestrated and simultaneous terrorist attack in all of our major cities at the same time?” (27:06)
(4) “While American Muslims live in America, 82 percent are not loyal to America and are not willing to fight and defend America.” (8:10)
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president. [CAIR]
Trump’s racist Tweets against 4 Congresswomen draws wide condemnation
July 14: President Donald Trump’s racist tweets against four congresswomen saying go back to their “totally broken and crime infested” countries of origin, were widely condemned Sunday (July 14). "So interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run," Trump said in an early morning string of tweets. [AMP Report]
Trump tells congresswomen to 'go back' to the 'crime infested places from which they came'
July 14: President Donald Trump used racist language today to attack four so-called ‘progressive Democratic congresswomen.’ On Sunday (July 14) he posted three tweets calling on an unspecified group of Democratic congresswomen to “go back and help fix” the countries he said they “originally came” from before trying to make legislative changes in the USA: "So interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run."Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!" the president said in three connected tweets.” Then at a Wednesday night (July 18) rally in North Carolina, he further intensified the push. An adoring crowd chanted “send her back” as Trump tallied off a series of criticisms of Rep. Ilhan Omar, who left Somalia when she was 6 and settled in the United States when she was 10.The four members Trump is talking about were in the midst of a fight with House leaders over border funding, a conflict that’s just the latest battle in an ongoing feud between the two sides. Trump seems to have started weighing in on this subject primarily in hopes of intensifying the feuding, but did so in such a clumsy manner as to be extremely helpful in encouraging Democrats to patch things up. At the same time, while his blundering and uncouth behavior seems to have put a fairly low ceiling on his approval ratings, Democrats have reason to worry. When Trump orients American politics around racial conflict, it’s a setting fundamentally favorable to the GOP. [AMP Report/VOX]
The US House of Representatives denounces Trump ‘racist’ tweets
July 16: The Democrats-led US House of Representatives Tuesday (July 16) formally condemned President Donald Trump’s Twitter posts as racist. The House vote was split largely along party lines despite pressure for Republicans to denounce the president’s attacks on four Democratic Congresswomen that they should "go back" to where they came from. The vote, 240-187, fell nearly entirely along party lines with only four Republicans voting with Democrats. [AMP Report]
Legislation would force disclosures about terror watchlist
July 17: Today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) requiring a report on the dissemination of the federal government’s watchlist to more than 60 foreign countries. The amendment was introduced by Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and requires the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress detailing various guidelines governing the government’s dissemination of the watchlist, which includes more than 1 million people, to foreign countries. The watchlist is shared with more than 60 foreign countries which may include countries with dubious human rights records like China and Saudi Arabia. The FBI has acknowledged in sworn testimony that it takes no responsibility for, nor does it oversee, how foreign governments actually use U.S. watchlist information. In a statement Rep. Ilhan Omar said: “This is a watershed moment in reestablishing Congressional oversight over the executive branch. Passing this bill into law is a major step in reasserting the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s role in providing direction to the State Department. I am also proud that my amendment to codify the Office of Global Criminal Justice was included, which is essential to advance American leadership on transitional justice and accountability for human rights atrocities and crimes against humanity—accountability which has been under threat by the current administration.” [AMP Report]
Muslim Advocates predict more racist attacks to come from Trump
July 17: Tonight in North Carolina, the president of the United States renewed his attacks on four freshman Democrats in Congress, all American women of color, in what many are calling Donald Trump’s most hateful and bigoted rally yet. At the event, thousands of his supporters chanted, “Send her back,” calling on the president to deport Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Omar responded in a tweet: “I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!” Muslim leaders and communities of color were deeply alarmed by Trump’s racist rhetoric attacking Omar and fellow Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), but they were not surprised.
“We have seen a sort of a trajectory of the president using his platform to perpetuate hateful things and we don’t have enough people speaking out to condemn that,” said Madihha Ahussain, the special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry at Muslim Advocates. “Quite frankly, there’s too many people that are staying silent, whether it’s Democratic and Republican parties across the country.”
Human rights advocates and other critics have long warned against Trump’s xenophobic and Islamophobic language and policies, which set the stage for Wednesday night’s racist rally. Political observers say the attacks will likely intensify as Trump and the GOP leverage smear campaigns and bigotry as a 2020 election strategy. Ahussain also warned about a potential rise in hate crimes, which usually follows such rhetoric from the president and his followers. According to FBI data, more than 7,100 hate crimes were reported in 2017, with nearly 3 out of 5 attacks motivated by race and ethnicity.
The fact that people at Trump’s rally felt emboldened to call for Omar’s deportation even though she is an American citizen is rooted in U.S. nation-building ideology and how that has been weaponized against “non-white bodies,” according to Nimo Abdi, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota who focuses on race, gender and immigration issues.
During the rally, Trump called out Omar and the other congresswomen by name, spewing falsehoods about them. He claimed that Omar, who is a refugee from Somalia and one of the first Muslim women in Congress, supported al Qaeda and “minimized the September 11 attacks on our homeland.” Both accusations are not true. “Donald Trump is exploiting the deepest fears and anxieties of the public,” said Ibrahim Hooper, the national communications director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The rally came days after Trump’s racist Twitter tirade on Saturday telling the four congresswomen they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Despite a national outcry, the president doubled down and defended those tweets the next day at a White House event. By Tuesday, House lawmakers passed a resolution condemning Trump’s tweets in a contentious vote that split almost entirely along party lines. [HuffPost]
"Send her back": Trump continues attack against congresswomen while crowd chants
July 18: President Trump at a campaign rally on Wednesday doubled down on his racist remarks about four progressive congresswomen of color, casting them as an existential threat to modern American society and saying "let them leave." "These left-wing ideologues see our nation as a force of evil," Mr. Trump told his ardent supporters during a campaign rally in North Carolina on Wednesday night. "They want to demolish our constitution, weaken our military (and) eliminate the values that built this magnificent county." As he took direct aim at Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a defiant Mr. Trump was buoyed by the raucous crowd, which chanted "send her back!" The racist chants some in the crowd directed at Omar, a Somali-American and one of two Muslim women in Congress, were reminiscent of Mr. Trump's own factually inaccurate tirade over the weekend against the Minnesota lawmaker and her colleagues Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. The president claimed that the four Democratic congresswomen "originally came" from foreign countries but only Omar was born outside the U.S. Pressley, an African American, was born in Ohio. Ocasio-Cortez, of Puerto Rican heritage, was born in New York. Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was born in Detroit. Omar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was born in Somalia, a country she and her family fled from because of a civil war and ethnic strife.On Wednesday night, the president again singled out the four progressive lawmakers, accusing Omar of being a fringe legislator who holds anti-Semitic views, denigrates the military and minimizes the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He accused Ocasio-Cortez — who he referred to as "Cortez" because her double-barrelled surname takes "too much time" to say — of stating that Nazis are running detention centers for migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border. [CBS News]
Trump officials pressing to slash refugee admissions to zero next year
July 18: The Trump administration is considering a virtual shutdown of refugee admissions next year — cutting the number to nearly zero — according to three people familiar with the plan. During a key meeting of security officials on refugee admissions last week, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services representative who is closely aligned with White House immigration adviser Stephen Miller suggested setting a cap at zero, the people said. Homeland Security Department officials at the meeting later floated making the level anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000, according to one of the people. The proposal for a near-shutdown of the refugee program is alarming officials at the Department of Defense, who don’t want to see a halt in admissions of Iraqis who risked their lives assisting U.S. forces in that country. The possible move comes after the Trump administration cut refugee admissions by a third this year, to 30,000. If the administration shuts down refugee admissions, it would give President Donald Trump a powerful talking point as he makes immigration restrictions a centerpiece of his reelection campaign. At the same time, it would strand thousands of people already far along in the process and damage the ability of resettlement agencies to process refugees in future years, according to advocates tracking the issue. [POLITICO]
Copycat bills on anti-Sharia law and terrorism have no effect
July 20: “These copycat bills on Sharia law and terrorism have no effect. So why do states keep passing them?” This is the title of an in-depth report produced after the two-year investigation. This story was part of a collaboration between USA TODAY, The Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity. A far-right think tank pushed model bills on Sharia law and terrorism in dozens of states. Civil rights groups say the goal was to stoke fear, the report said adding: “A lawmaker in Idaho introduces legislation to prevent traditional Islamic law from infiltrating U.S. courts. In Florida, a legislator proposes striking at the foundations of terrorism with a bill bolstering victims’ ability to sue its supporters. The lawmakers’ efforts are seemingly unrelated, their statehouses almost 2,000 miles apart. But both get their ideas, and the actual text of their bills, from the same representative of the same right-wing think tank. And when they introduce the bills, the same activist group dispatches supporters to press for passage. Eric Redman of Idaho and Mike Hill of Florida are among dozens of legislators who have sponsored copycat bills written and pushed by a network of far-right think tanks and activists.” The legislation was developed by the Center for Security Policy, which was founded by Frank Gaffney, a Reagan-era acting Assistant Secretary of Defense, who pushes conspiracy theories alleging radical Muslims have infiltrated the government, according to the investigative report. “Once the copycat bills are introduced, local chapters of the Washington, D.C.-based ACT for America, which describes itself as the “NRA of national security,” encourage their supporters to show up at legislative hearings and flood lawmakers’ inboxes and phone lines in support of the bills. ACT’s founder, Brigitte Gabriel, has claimed that up to a quarter of all Muslims support the destruction of Western civilization.” ACT and the Center for Security Policy are at the center of a broader network that over a decade has waged a successful campaign that has reached every statehouse and led to the bills they’ve written and supported being introduced more than 70 times. Six states – Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Tennessee – have passed both the anti-Islamic law and anti-terrorism measures. The special interest groups and lawmakers who sponsor their bills say they’re protecting Americans from Islamic extremism and terrorism. But the bills have had little practical impact, the report pointed out and added: “For the first time, the investigation reveals how effective efforts behind the American Laws for American Courts model bill have been and how those groups have branched out to include Andy’s Law and other copycat bills that critics view as Islamophobic, keeping their issues on the agenda in statehouses across the country.” [USA TODAY]
'Eradicate Islam from every town,' tweets Sussex Republican Committee
July 25: The Sussex County (New Jersey) Republican Committee is under fire for running a Twitter page filled with offensive comments including a call to "eradicate Islam from every town, city, county and state in our homeland." The Twitter account includes retweets of memes with hateful language about Muslims and specifically about Muslim Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, calling them in one case "the enemy within." Other memes shared this month group them with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, calling them "stupid b*****s" and "Whores of Babble-on." Jerry Scanlan, chairman of the Sussex GOP and vice chairman of the board of trustees at Sussex County Community College, did not disavow the comments in a statement on Facebook about the controversy. Instead, he claimed Gov. Phil Murphy was going after him for political reasons. "This is a very lame attempt by the Murphy administration to change the subject in Sussex County. It comes on the heels of a demand by the Sussex County legislators for the Murphy administration to account for its reasoning behind its illegal Sanctuary State directive," Scanlan wrote, referring to the spat over a directive that restricts state, local and county police from participating in federal immigration operations. One tweet, shared July 17, has a photo of them and the words: "America is demanding the immediate and unconditional removal of these radical terrorists for traitorous and slanderous remarks and attacks against America and the president of the United States of America." The messaging against the four congresswomen echoes that used by President Donald Trump, who has claimed they hate America, support terrorism and hate Israel. It's part of a growing trend of biased rhetoric directed at Muslims, including women in public office from Congress to the mayor's seat in Montgomery in Somerset County. The Sussex County Democratic Committee said on Facebook that it considered the memes, images and comments to be racist, misogynistic and religiously intolerant. [North Jersey Record]
Trump unleashes attack on Baltimore while criticizing Elijah Cummings
July 27: President Trump attacked Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Twitter this morning, calling his congressional district "the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States." This is the second time this month that Trump has attacked a black member of Congress. He earlier told Rep. Ilhan Omar and 3 other congresswomen of color to "go back" to their countries. Trump is also attacking a majority black district when he calls Cummings' district one of the most dangerous places in the U.S. Why it matters?: Cummings is one of the leading congressional critics of the president, as shown by: (1) Issuing multiple subpoenas against top Trump administration officials, including for Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. (2) Urging Americans to pay attention to what special counsel Robert Mueller has to say about Russian interference in the 2016 election. (3) Speaking out about the status of the Border Patrol facilities, and blasting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan over it in a public hearing. [AXIOS]
California judge vacates conviction in 13-year-old Lodi terror case of Hamid Hayat
July 30: In a stunning decision today, the Senior United States District Judge Garland Burrell Jr., who oversaw the trial and conviction of accused Lodi terror suspect Hamid Hayat 13 years ago in 2006 has ordered the conviction and sentence vacated. Burrell’s decision comes seven months after U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Barnes issued a 116-page recommendation to Burrell that the conviction be vacated because of ineffective representation by his original defense attorney, a woman who at the time had never tried a criminal case in federal court. Barnes’ recommendation followed weeks of testimony in a 2018 hearing in which his attorney hammered home his contention that the FBI had coerced Hayat into false confessions, that the training camp he supposedly visited was not even open at the time he was in Pakistan and that alibi witnesses who could prove his innocence were not produced at the original trial.Hayat had been accused of attending a terrorist training camp in Pakistan and planning to wage jihad on the United States. Hayat, who was born in San Joaquin County in 1982, had visited Pakistan with his family in 2003 on what his lawyers say was a trip for his mother to receive medical treatment and to find a wife for him. But Hayat had come to the attention of a paid government informant who can be heard on wiretaps urging Hayat to attend such a camp. His appellate lawyers say that despite his confession – which came after hours of questioning by the FBI and is now the subject of a Netflix documentary – he never went to a camp. They also say the one he was alleged to have attended was not open at the time he was in Pakistan.The case made national headlines when federal officials announced they had broken up an al-Qaida cell in Lodi, where at one point agents suspected Osama bin Laden’s No. 2 man – Ayman al-Zawahiri – supposedly had been seen. Hayat’s defense team dismissed that notion as a fantasy created by the informant, but federal prosecutors have fought for years to keep Hayat’s conviction from being overturned, noting repeatedly that he confessed. “Hamid cannot get those 14 years of his life back, but we are relieved to see the case take such a big step forward,” Hayat’s family said in a statement distributed by the Sacramento Valley office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The council’s executive director, Basim Elkarra, said prosecutors “took advantage of anti-Muslim, post-9/11 bias to convict an innocent man.” [AMP Report]