Community News (V9-I31)

How Muslim Communities Counter Radicalism to Be Study Topic

Durham, NC — Finding out how American Muslims address messages of extremism in their communities will be the goal of a two-year study funded by the US Department of Justice.

Researchers at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will then use the information to recommend policies for reducing the likelihood that the United States experiences the type of homegrown terrorism seen recently in Europe.

“In light of the recent events in London and Glasgow, it is critically important to understand why widespread radicalization has not occurred in the United States and take steps to reinforce this trend,” said David Schanzer, a visiting professor at Duke and adjunct professor at UNC and principal investigator for the study.

Schanzer directs the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, a think tank sponsored by the two universities and RTI International, a research firm headquartered in Research Triangle Park. The National Institute of Justice — the research arm of the Justice Department — recently awarded the center $394,000 for the study.

Center researchers will seek to learn from the responses of four American Muslim communities to radical Islamic movements across the globe, said Charles Kurzman, a UNC associate professor of sociology and co-principal investigator in the project. With another co-principal investigator, Ebrahim Moosa, associate professor of Islamic studies at Duke, and graduate students, Kurzman and Schanzer will study Muslim communities in Buffalo, Houston, Seattle and the Triangle.

Of those, only Houston has experienced no known violence attributed to Islamic extremism, Kurzman said. In the other three, one or two incidents attributed to individuals acting alone were denounced by other local Muslims.

“Osama Bin Laden and other revolutionaries have argued that it is the responsibility of every Muslim who can do so to engage in violent jihad, but few Muslims have taken up this call, especially in the United States,” Kurzman said. “It is critical that we see what we can learn from these communities. We hope this research will be helpful to policy-makers and law-enforcement officials.”

The study will involve scholars in the religion department and the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke and the sociology department at UNC.

Attempt to resolve Islamic center issue

CLAYTON, MO — St. Louis County “will work something out” to resolve a zoning dispute and allow the Islamic Community Center organization to build at a site in south St. Louis County, County Executive Charlie Dooley says, the St.Louis Despatch reported.

After last week’s County Council meeting, Dooley walked up to four people who had spoken out against the council’s denial of a rezoning for the Islamic center. He told them “we’ll work it out.”

The group, whose members mainly are Bosnian, wants to build a structure of 25,000 square feet on 4.72 acres on the northwest side of Lemay Ferry Road, 75 feet northeast of Buckley Road near Mehlville High School. The four speakers were outside the council chamber when Dooley approached them.

In an interview a short time later, the county executive said he wanted to resolve the matter “before it gets out of hand.”

Nasir Khan wins Java Award

Nasir Khan has won a coveted award for excellence in developing Java standards and innovation. He received the most votes in the Most Outstanding Spec Lead for Java SE/EE category. Khan of BEA Systems is the architect of the WebLogic SIP Server based on the Internet standard called Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). A member of the JCP community since 2000, Nasir moved up through the ranks, starting as a member, then working in the BEA-led Expert Group for JSR 309, Media Server Control API, and becoming a Spec Lead. In 2007, he was also recognized as a Star Spec Lead for his work on JSR 289, SIP Servlet v1.1.

Muslim workers at Swift plant complain of religious harassment

OMAHA– Workers say supervisors at a Swift and Company meatpacking plant in Nebraska have fired or harassed dozens of Somali Muslim employees for trying to pray at sunset.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has drafted a complaint to be filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The complaint reprises issues that boiled over in May, when 120 Somali workers quit for similar reasons. About 70 returned a week later.

Mohamed Rage of the Omaha Somali-American Community Organization alleges Swift has fired at least two dozen workers for praying since May.

But Donald Selzer, an attorney for Greeley-based Swift, says only three Somali workers were fired, and that it was for walking off the line without permission, not for praying.

CAIR-Tampa Announces $10K Reward in Arson Case

TAMPA, FL–The Tampa office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) and the Florida Division of State Fire Marshall has announced a combined $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of arsonists who torched a Sarasota Muslim family’s home earlier this month.

CAIR-Tampa is offering up to a $7,500 reward, while Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as the state fire marshal, is offering a reward of up to $2,500.

The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group has called on the FBI to investigate the July 6th incident in which a Bosnian family’s home was burned and spray painted with anti-Muslim slurs.

“We hope this reward will lead to the prompt apprehension and prosecution of whoever carried out this cowardly attack,” said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier.

A statement sent to CAIR-Tampa by Florida Governor Charlie Crist stated: “I am saddened by any incident of hate targeting Floridians of the Muslim faith. We will not tolerate such acts. We are an open society and one that takes great pleasure in our diverse communities of faith.”


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