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Archive for January 4th, 2007

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Grasping at straws over the US Airways Flight 300 fiasco back in November, Somali Muslims and Muslim-rights groups living in La La Land (Iran?), including the perpetually dubious Center on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), are demanding a prayer space in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport be set aside solely for use by Muslims and only Muslims–no Christians (or any other religious group) allowed, further proving that Islam is the most intolerant religion on the face of the planet.

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press article…

“Where you have Christians and Muslims praying at the same time, it will create a problem,” said Fuad Ali, a Somali leader who spoke at a meeting of community members and airport officials Tuesday in Minneapolis.

While there are many Christians who could be considered intolerant, that is usually in spite of the fact they’re Christians. The Qur’an teaches intolerance to followers of Islam, so who do you think will be the cause of “problems” should Muslims have to share a prayer room with Christians?

From the WND article further down the page in reference to the November 20 US Airways Flight 300 with the kooky imams…

The Washington, D.C., based lobby group Council on American-Islamic Relations also complained, according to CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
“Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it’s one that we’ve been addressing for some time,” Hooper said.

You singled yourself out with your incendiary and purposefully outrageous behavior. You perpetrated a choreographed stunt in order to garner attention towards Islamic religious discrimination that just wasn’t there. I don’t deny that Muslims face religious discrimination (or any other religious group), but the incident on US Airways Flight 300 was handled very professionally by the US Airways staff. Passengers, while alarmed, didn’t resort to panic or bigotry. The imams, on the other hand, acted like idiots and the public saw through their facade for what it truly was: a publicity stunt designed to generate a religious discrimination lawsuit.

Still, it could be morbidly amusing to witness a prayer room with Muslims and Christians together. One group might be praying for a safe flight home, while the other group prays for a speedy trip to paradise.

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Airport hesitant to grant Muslim prayer room

Somali immigrant leaders also ask directors for signs in native language, exceptions for cabbies

BY EMILY GURNON
Pioneer Press

Somali immigrants passing through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport want a private place to say Muslim prayers. The airport suggests they share a room with people of other religions.

Like a new couple learning to dance, immigrants and their adopted countries often trip each other up, and the prayer-room issue is just one of the latest tangles between Somali immigrants and other Minnesotans.

“Where you have Christians and Muslims praying at the same time, it will create a problem,” said Fuad Ali, a Somali leader who spoke at a meeting of community members and airport officials Tuesday in Minneapolis.

The prayer debate was sparked Nov. 20 when six imams — Muslim religious leaders — were removed from an airplane after they had been seen praying in public. According to witnesses, the men also made anti-American remarks, asked for seat-belt extenders they didn’t need and spread out to different areas of the plane.

The imams took another flight the next day.

But the incident drew worldwide attention. Muslims decried the treatment of the men, saying it was discriminatory, embarrassing and fueled by false rumors. Others praised the airline for taking the men off the plane, saying safety must come first in the post-Sept. 11 age.

Ali said Tuesday that he and other Somalis want a prayer room so they will not be faced with a similar incident.

“What can guarantee that will not happen again?” he said.

Airport Director Steve Wareham said if the airport provides a special area for Muslims to use, it potentially would have to accommodate other faiths the same way.

“Our request would be you try the quiet seating area,” he told the Somali immigrants.

That existing area is a carpeted room that contains chairs but no religious symbols. It has been used for years but was never obvious to travelers, said airport spokesman Patrick Hogan. The airport intends to install more signs directing people to it on the mezzanine level near the Chili’s restaurant, near the entry to the F Concourse.

At the same time, there is no restriction on praying in other parts of the airport, Wareham said.

Other issues continue to rile some Somali immigrants. Minnesota is home to the largest concentration of Somali immigrants in the country. The state estimates about 25,000 Somalis live here, though community leaders say the number is closer to 60,000.

Many of the airport’s Somali taxi drivers refuse to accept passengers who are carrying liquor, because their faith forbids it. The airport says it is a customer-service issue and has forced drivers who refuse fares to move to the back of the line, which can mean a wait as long as three hours for another fare.

Wareham said he would recommend to the airport’s management operations committee that it hold a public hearing on the matter. He favors stiffening the penalties against cab drivers who refuse fares for any reason other than their own safety.

“To be refused service by a taxi driver is, frankly, seen as an insult, and we don’t want our customers to experience it,” Wareham said.

Somalis assembled at Tuesday’s meeting at the Darul Quba Mosque in Minneapolis also wanted to know whether the airport would provide announcements and signs in Somali.

Probably not, officials said.

“The challenge is not inundating the air with messages people might start to ignore,” said Arlie Johnson, an assistant airport director.

At least the issue of the prayer room was met with some accommodation, said Abdirahman Hirsi, imam of the Darul Quba Mosque.

“It’s a kind of progress,” he said. “And we hope the future will be better.”

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Muslims warn of ‘problems’ in shared prayer room
Somali leader says Islam, Christianity incompatible


Posted: January 4, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com Muslims are demanding a private room to pray at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, saying there will be problems if they have to share an existing “quiet room” with people of other religions. “Where you have Christians and Muslims praying at the same time, it will create a problem,” said Fuad Ali, a Somali leader who spoke at a meeting with airport officials, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The meeting was a followup to an incident Nov. 20 when ticket agents and other passengers noticed six Muslim imams who had attended a conference in the area praying loudly before their flight, and shouting “Allah, Allah” when their flight was called. Officials said then they also asked to be scattered throughout the plane, rather than sitting together as they had been assigned. And some of the imams, although they did not need them, asked for seat-belt extenders. The pilot summoned security and the imams were removed from the flight, and then they alleged that they were discriminated against because of their religion. Now Somalis, who make up a large community in Minnesota and are predominantly Muslim, are demanding changes at the airport, including a private place for them to use for their prayers.

The airport, meanwhile, has suggested they share the room already set aside for such purposes.

The incident with the imams, who took another later flight, has launched both criticism and praise for the airline, US Airways. Critics say the airline was profiling based on religion, while those who praise the actions say safety must come first in the world since Sept. 11.

Ali said he just wanted a “guarantee” that something similar will not happen in the future.

But the airport already provides the generic quiet area, and if it would set aside a special area designated for Muslims, it could have to accommodate any – and all – other faiths the same way, noted Airport Director Steve Wareham.

“Our request would be you try the quiet seating area,” he said.

That is a carpeted room furnished with chairs – but without any religious symbols, airport officials said. It has been in use for a number of years, but hasn’t been obvious, so airport officials have promised to put up more signs to let people know where it is.

The airport also said people can pray in other parts of the airport as they wish.

As WND reported, one of the imams, Omar Shahin, is affiliated with a Hamas-linked organization and acknowledged a connection to Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.

Shahin is a representative of the Kind Hearts Organization, which had its assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury pending an investigation, notes Islam scholar Robert Spencer on his weblog JihadWatch


Omar Shahin displays Quran at Tucson Islamic Center in June 2001 (Photo: University of Arizona Daily Wildcat)

Treasury spokesman Stuart Levey in February said KindHearts “is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving.”

The imams had attended a conference in Minneapolis of the North American Imams Federation, said Shahin, who is president of the group.

“They took us off the plane, humiliated us in a very disrespectful way,” Shahin said after the incident.

The Washington, D.C., based lobby group Council on American-Islamic Relations also complained, according to CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

“Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it’s one that we’ve been addressing for some time,” Hooper said.

CAIR, however, has its own ties to Hamas, having been identified by two former FBI counter-terrorism chiefs as a spinoff of a front group for the Palestinian terrorist organization.

A Sept. 28, 2001, story in the Arizona Republic that said Arizona appears to have been the home of an al-Qaida sleeper cell named Shahin as one of three part-time Arizona residents who “fits the pattern” of the terrorist group.

Shahin, identifed as being with the Tucson Islamic Center, said members of his mosque may have helped bin Laden in the early 1990s when the al-Qaida leader was fighting against the Russians.

The CIA at that time, Shahin said, called bin Laden a “freedom fighter.”

Witnesses to the imam’s explusion said some of them made anti-American comments about the war in Iraq before boarding the flight, according to airport officials.

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Since I discovered Jihadwatch.org (and sister-site Dhimmiwatch) several months back, I have found it the most reliable collated source presenting Islamist current events and coextensive opinion on the subject of Islam and jihadist machinations, albeit one-sided. Of course I wouldn’t want it any other way from writer and Islamic scholar, Robert Spencer–a man more than proficient in Islamic law and theology, and the violent and imperialistic proclivities of Muhammad’s religion of peace intolerance.

This may explain why I link to Jihadwatch more and more frequently. Too many other news outlets dull information on Islam today, particularly here in the west, with an overabundance of politically correct, honey-coated proselytizing and apologizing for a faith based around a basic concept of convert or die. I don’t need politically correct platitudes on this subject. Honest truth is more important to me, even if that means alienating a few friends and acquaintances along the way due to unpopular ideas–it’s not necessarily good holiday conversation.

Anyway, here’s an opinion by Mr. Spencer concerning a Washington Post article about the swearing in of Representative Keith Ellison. Or rather, the swearing in of Representative Keith Ellison with the Qur’an rather than the traditional use of The Bible. Further, Ellison will be swearing in on Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of the Qur’an.

There’s nothing constitutionally that claims one cannot be sworn into office with anything other than The Bible, nor do I believe should there be. To me this is sort of a non-issue that rings only slightly alarmist by traditionalists and southern-conservatives. Despite the fact that the United States is a country that tends to stand by tradition, there have been several public office holders throughout the history of this country who have taken the oath of office on The Bible in spite of their beliefs as non-Christians. Counter to that, several non-Christians and Christians alike have opted to swear on nothing at all for their oath of office.

Still, Spencer makes a succinct and reasoned (as always) point on the tradition of using The Bible versus the tradition (or lack of tradition) of the Qur’an. And as usual, Spencer encourages much needed open discussion on what Islam teaches and how it fits into our society minus the ad hominem cries of “racist” or “bigot” that CAIR and its ilk often ignorantly belch forth.

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But It’s Thomas Jefferson’s Koran! (Jihadwatch.org)

In the Washington Post (thanks to Davida), Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts report breathlessly that Keith Ellison will be using Thomas Jefferson’s own copy of the Qur’an for his swearing-in photo op.

This is allegedly a political masterstroke by Ellison, but it really just begs the question. Thomas Jefferson, obviously, was not a Muslim. In his famous statement on religious freedom he wrote about whether one’s neighbor believed in one god or twelve “neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” But what no one is willing to discuss here is whether the Qur’an and Islam really fit into that framework. When I have mentioned that it sanctions lying to unbelievers (3:28 and 16:106, in the mainstream understanding of those verses by Islamic theologians and schools of jurisprudence; cf. Ibn Kathir and many others), people have responded that the Bible is full of nasty stuff as well. But people aren’t swearing on the Bible because it is full of nasty stuff, or endorsing any of it that might actually be there. The idea of swearing on the Bible arises from Christian belief and is buttressed by Christian theology — Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant — that requires honesty and eschews all dishonesty as coming from the “Father of Lies.” The permissions to be dishonest in the Qur’an are not mitigated by Islamic belief, tradition, and theology, but are in fact reinforced — by Muhammad’s statements that “war is deceit” and that lying is permissible in wartime, and more.

In short, to swear on the Bible is to affirm, among other things, that one is part of a tradition, and to swear on the Qur’an does not amount to an affirmation of the same tradition, no matter how much Glenn Beck or Ed Koch or anyone wishes it does or assumes it does. Islamic teachers daily use the Qur’an to establish principles that differ radically from those of Judeo-Christian tradition. These questions need to be discussed in a forthright and honest manner by Ellison and by the mainstream media, instead of being swept under the rug or condemned as bigotry.

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But It’s Thomas Jefferson’s Koran! (WashingtonPost.com)

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Wednesday, January 3, 2007; C03

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, found himself under attack last month when he announced he’d take his oath of office on the Koran — especially from Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode, who called it a threat to American values.

Yet the holy book at tomorrow’s ceremony has an unassailably all-American provenance. We’ve learned that the new congressman — in a savvy bit of political symbolism — will hold the personal copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

“He wanted to use a Koran that was special,” said Mark Dimunation, chief of the rare book and special collections division at the Library of Congress, who was contacted by the Minnesota Dem early in December. Dimunation, who grew up in Ellison’s 5th District, was happy to help.

Jefferson’s copy is an English translation by George Sale published in the 1750s; it survived the 1851 fire that destroyed most of Jefferson’s collection and has his customary initialing on the pages. This isn’t the first historic book used for swearing-in ceremonies — the Library has allowed VIPs to use rare Bibles for inaugurations and other special occasions.

Ellison will take the official oath of office along with the other incoming members in the House chamber, then use the Koran in his individual, ceremonial oath with new Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Keith is paying respect not only to the founding fathers’ belief in religious freedom but the Constitution itself,” said Ellison spokesman Rick Jauert.

One person unlikely to be swayed by the book’s illustrious history is Goode, who released a letter two weeks ago objecting to Ellison’s use of the Koran. “I believe that the overwhelming majority of voters in my district would prefer the use of the Bible,” the Virginia Republican told Fox News, and then went on to warn about what he regards as the dangers of Muslims immigrating to the United States and Muslims gaining elective office.

Yeah, but what about a Koran that belonged to one of the greatest Virginians in history? Goode, who represents Jefferson’s birthplace of Albemarle County, had no comment yesterday.

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