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Executive Editor: Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Chronology of Islam in America (2019)
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

June  2019

Women across world wear hijab to fight Islamophobia
June 2: Thousands of women are wearing a hijab during the Muslim’s holy month of Ramadan to raise awareness about the head covering and educate people on fighting Islamophobia, according to the founder of the World Hijab Day Organization. From Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Germany Malaysia, New Zealand, U.K. the U.S. and all over the world, women are participating in the group’s Ramadan Challenge for the second straight year, Nazma Khan told Anadolu Agency. “By inviting women of different faiths and backgrounds to wear the hijab, it normalizes the hijab,” she said. “Thus, it no longer stays something ‘unknown’ which some might ignorantly fear or see it as a threat.” But some women have been so inspired they have taken it upon themselves to take the challenge a step further and decided to fast for 29 or 30 days as required by the Islamic faith. World Hijab Day was created in 2013 to encourage women of all faiths and backgrounds to wear the hijab in support of Muslim women. It is celebrated annually Feb. 1. In 2017, World Hijab Day became a nonprofit organization with a mission to fight discrimination against Muslim women through awareness and education, according to the group’s website.  [Anadolu Agency]

Trump’s retweet of UK Islamophobe condemned
June 17:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned President Trump’s retweet of an attack on the Muslim mayor of London by notorious Islamophobe Katie Hopkins who is scheduled to speak at a hate group’s event this week in Connecticut. Trump retweeted a post by Hopkins that referred to Mayor Sadiq Khan’s city of London as “Londonistan,” an Islamophobic term used by anti-Muslim bigots like Hopkins. In his tweet, Trump called Khan a “disaster” and a “national disgrace who is destroying the city of London.” Hopkins is infamous for using the term “final solution” to describe how the UK should respond to a deadly bombing in that country. That same phrase was used by the Nazis to describe the genocide targeting Europe’s Jewish population. Hopkins is scheduled to speak June 19 during an event at an undisclosed location in central Connecticut hosted by the anti-Muslim hate group ACT for America, which has alleged ties to white supremacist, neo-Nazi hate organizations.  “Given Mr. Trump’s long history of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric, it is not surprising that he would amplify such Islamophobic bigotry,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw. “Despite Mr. Trump’s ongoing attempts to normalize Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry, we must all continue to condemn his offensive rhetoric and refuse to view it as ‘normal’ in any way.” He noted that in 2015, Hopkins suggested, "Bring on the gunships, force migrants back to their shores and burn the boats," to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean and likened migrants to "cockroaches." Hopkins was banned from Fox News in June 2017 after she argued "we need to start incarcerating, deporting, repeating, until we clean this country up" and "we do need internment camps.” Hopkins’ Connecticut sponsor, ACT for America, has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC has named the group’s leader, Brigitte Gabriel, as a member of the nation's "Anti-Muslim Inner Circle." The CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since Trump’s election of Donald Trump as president and has repeatedly expressed concern about Islamophobic, white supremacist and racist Trump administration policies and appointments. [CAIR]

This far-right activist will now lead a major U.S. Religious Freedom Body
June 18: One of the most vitriolic anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim activists in the U.S. will now lead the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Tony Perkins, who was first named to USCIRF by Senator Mitch McConnell in 2018, will head the group for a year. Perkins is also the president of the Family Research Council, a far-right organization that lobbied against marriage equality and continues to work against anti-discrimination laws that cover LGBT people.
Like USCIRF itself, Perkins isn’t much of a household name. But he has for years worked toward a definition of religious freedom that maximizes First Amendment rights for conservative Christians, while minimizing the rights of Muslims, nontheists, and members of other minority traditions. Perkins has also shown particular antipathy toward Islam. During an appearance on CNN in 2010, he said those who follow the literal teachings of Islam “have perpetuated great evils on society.” During a 2015 episode of his radio show “Washington Watch,” Perkins claimed that “Islam is not just a religion, Islam is an economic system, it is a judicial system, it is a compressive system which is incompatible with the Constitution.” As Right Wing Watch reported at the time, Perkins went on to explain that he does not believe the U.S. is required to protect people “who want to blow — I mean, when was the last time you saw a Baptist trying to blow something up?” That wouldn’t even be the last time Perkins argued that Islam was mostly not a religion; the same year, he wrote in an email to supporters that “only 16 percent of Islam is a religion — the rest is a combination of military, judicial, economic, and political system. Christianity, by comparison, isn’t a judicial or economic code — but a faith. So to suggest that we would be imposing some sort of religious test on Muslims is inaccurate. Sharia is not a religion in the context of the First Amendment.” The Trump administration shares Perkins’s animus toward Islam. Its ban on immigration from some majority-Muslim countries indicated early the depth of its hostility for Muslims. As HuffPost reported after March’s mosque shootings in New Zealand, Trump once floated a national database to track Muslims, and has repeatedly and wrongly insisted that Muslims in Jersey City celebrated the September 11th attacks. [NY MAG  - By Sarah Jones]

Hijacked by Hate: American Philanthropy and the Islamophobia Network
 June 19: Anti-Muslim bigotry is a common and widespread feature of our country’s mainstream cultural and political landscape. However, it is important to remember that Islamophobic attitudes and policies are propagated by special interest groups with deep sources of funding. This decentralized group of actors is known as the Islamophobia Network, a closeknit family of organizations and individuals that share an ideology of extreme anti-Muslim animus, and work with one another to negatively influence public opinion and government policy about Muslims and Islam. To provide a better understanding of how the Islamophobia Network operates, CAIR's Islamophobia report Hijacked by Hate maps the flow of funding from charitable organizations to anti-Muslim special interest groups, and their destructive impact on public life. Hijacked by Hate finds that the Islamophobia Network has been drawing upon mainstream American philanthropic institutions for financial and political support for years. CAIR researchers have found 1,096 organizations responsible for funding 39 groups in the Islamophobia Network between 2014 and 2016. The report also reveals the total revenue capacity of the Islamophobia Network during this period to reach at least $1.5 billion. This money has been channeled into politics, media, law enforcement, educational institutions, lobbying groups, and a whole assortment of industries to advance anti-Muslim and anti-Islam animus in America. [Islamophobia.org]

Muslim to head Boston’s immigrant advancement office
June 20: Boston Mayor Marthy Walsh today appointed Yusufi Vali, the executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, as the head of the city’s Office for Immigrant Advancement.Vali, who immigrated with his parents to Kansas City from India when he was nine, will report to Marty Martinez, the chief of the city’s Health and Human Services office. The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center consists of a mosque and community center that services over 1,500 congregants of 64 ethnicities, most of whom are immigrants. “He has a strong record of fighting for immigrant and vulnerable communities, and I am looking forward to seeing him succeed in this role,” Walsh said. Prior to joining the cultural center in 2012, Vali was a community organizer for the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization where he advocated for education and health care access for low-income families. The 36-year-old has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Marshall Scholar, and a Barr fellow. He holds two master’s degrees, including one from the London School of Economics, and a bachelor’s from Princeton. He currently lives in Roslindale with his wife.
[Commonwealth Magazine]

The fight over Trump’s travel ban continues a year after Supreme Court ruling

June 26: A year after the Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting travel here from certain countries — widely criticized as a “Muslim ban” — activists are still fighting it in the courts and many families remain separated. The travel ban, issued in September 2017, blocked immigrants from traveling to the United States from five mostly Muslim countries. A year ago, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, upheld the third and most recent version of the ban, which does not apply only to Muslim countries, as constitutional. The policy indefinitely restricts U.S. entry by citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. At least 40,000 Somalis currently live in Columbus, the second-largest population of Somalis in the United States after Minneapolis. Trump has defended the ban, saying it’s important for the national security of the United States. “In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country,” Trump said in a prepared statement after the Supreme Court’s decision. He criticized Democrats “who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country.” Advocates for immigrants and Muslims say the president hasn’t shown how the ban helps security. “The government has still not demonstrated why giving an 82-year-old woman from Yemen a visa to come here will somehow jeopardize the security of this country,” said Romin Iqbal, executive and legal director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations Columbus. “In the Supreme Court hearings they didn’t demonstrate what exactly is the issue with security for these countries and they still have not.” Those who apply for immigrant visas to come here, and especially refugees about to enter the country, go through multiple background checks by the government, no matter what country they’re from, Iqbal said. Families and advocates haven’t given up fighting the ban and Muslim Advocates is among those leading the charge, said Sirine Shebaya, interim legal director at the Washington-based civil rights group, in a call with reporters about the ban earlier this month. There are three federal court cases challenging the ban going through the court system now, she said. “The reason why we think it’s important to litigate is because we think we should shed light on what the government has done and is doing,” Shebaya said. “These cases are challenging the ban in total.” [The Columbus Dispatch]

Police investigating possible bias motive after man brings dog into St. Cloud mosque
June 28: The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic relations (CAIR-MN) called on law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for an intrusion into a St. Cloud mosque by a man with a dog Friday.
CAIR-MN said a white male entered the Central Minnesota Islamic Center Thursday evening with a large dog. According to a press release, the man wandered in the mosque and was seen by worshipers as he left. When leaving the mosque, the man pulled hair from the dog and threw it on the floor, according to CAIR-MN.   “Because of the recent heightened tensions in the area and the common Islamophobic belief about dogs desecrating Islamic houses of worship, we urge law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for this incident,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein in the release. [St. Cloud Times]

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