- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Muslim groups say the surveillance techniques authorized by the Patriot Act and credited with helping nab alleged New York bomb plotter Najibullah Zazi are alienating potential allies against terrorism.
By Michael B. Farrell Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
September 29, 2009
...The extent of surveillance operations within the American Muslim communities is difficult to determine, since much of it involves ongoing investigations. In an attempt to force the FBI into revealing its surveillance guidelines, the group Muslim Advocates recently filed suit in federal court...
In this atmosphere of mystery and growing mistrust, a coalition of Islamic organizations said federal agents were infiltrating mosques in Southern California and using "agent provocateurs to trap unsuspecting Muslim youth."
"The job of the government is not to provoke someone to say something wrong and then arrest them," says Agha Saeed, chairman of the American Muslim Taskforce. "That's almost manufacturing a crime."
"At the end of the day, that does not create more integration, it creates all the opposite the results that government wants," he adds...
"The expiration of the three Patriot Act provisions is an opportunity to reexamine surveillance law and reject sections that waste law enforcement resources by targeting law abiding Americans without any suspicion of criminal activity," said Faiza Ali, community affairs director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in an e-mail. "We perceive that trust between the American Muslim community and the FBI remains an issue, especially given concerns of confidential informants and agent provocateurs in places of worship."
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Rep. Ellison was joined by CAIR-Greater Los Angeles Area Executive Director Hussam Ayloush, who delivered the sermon following Eid prayers.
The congressman spoke on the importance of civic engagement. Acknowledging President Obama's efforts to reach out to Muslims at home and abroad, he said it was time for American Muslims to get involved and help our nation realize its dream of pluralism and equality.
Congressman Ellison additionally reminded the congregants that, overwhelmingly, Americans are caring and respectful toward all religions. He encouraged Muslims to continue to reach out to their fellow Americans to work together in promoting better understanding and friendships. He said Muslims should not let hateful agendas of some drive them away from the good work.
In his sermon, Ayloush emphasized the importance of building on Ramadan's "intensive training" on faith, perseverance and compassion to reach out to others and the less fortunate in our communities, give charity and make contributions to America.
He quoted the Prophet Muhammad who said: "All people are the dependents of God. And, the most beloved to God are those most beneficial and helpful to His dependents."
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009By DAVID OLSON
The nation's first Muslim congressman will speak in Riverside on Sunday during prayers for Eid ul-Fitr, which celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., will attend Eid prayer services at the Riverside Convention Center and make brief remarks. The annual event last year attracted several thousand people...
Ellison said his Eid speech will focus on Ramadan's message of compassion and humility and the duty of Muslims to make life better for people of all faiths. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 in an overwhelmingly non-Muslim district and re-elected in 2008 with 71 percent of the vote. A second Muslim congressman was elected in Indianapolis last year.
Ellison said his election illustrates that most Americans try to treat Muslims with respect...
"And you just have to argue to people that that's not really the case, that America is a country of immigrants and has been all of its existence and yet our standard of living has only been increasing, and that we've been doing better, not worse, because of new people in our community," Ellison said.
You can show it to people through the evidence but it's not always easy, because you have a lot of people on radio and TV banking on people's fears and making them feel like they ought to kick somebody off the island or push somebody off the bus."
Ellison's election has been used by American officials to show foreign Muslims that the country is not hostile to Islam. President Barack Obama referred to Ellison's use of the Quran to take the oath of office in a June speech in Cairo that was designed to strengthen U.S. relations with the world's Muslims.
Corona's Hussam Ayloush, who will deliver Sunday's Eid sermon, said Ellison is a source of inspiration and hope for Muslims, especially those who believe they are treated as second-class citizens.
"He's living proof that once people get to know Muslims, they can have friendship, respect and partnership with them on all matters that bring benefit to people in our country," said Ayloush, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It reassures American Muslims they are ... equal citizens in their own country."
© September 19, 2009
Given 60-plus years of Middle East tensions, it might seem ironic that Jews and Muslims both observe religious holidays today: the first day of Rosh Hashana in Judaism and the last day of Ramadan in Islam.
The overlap is a calendar quirk, but it inadvertently underscores the fact that the two faiths might have more in common than either tradition has with Christianity.
Judaism and Islam both trace their roots to Abraham, with Jews descended from his son Isaac, and Muslims as descendants of Ishmael, his other son. (Christians also claim an Abrahamic background.)
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Prior to becoming a District Court judge, he served as a judge in the municipal and superior courts in Los Angeles. He passed away on August 4, 2009.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA) said:
"Judge Takasugi was a great force in challenging the undemocratic policies of our time, and was a courageous hero and leader of the civil rights movement. His death is a great loss to our country, especially to those who struggle for equal civil rights for all Americans."
Judge Takasugi made difficult decisions from the bench that ensured protection of civil liberties and constitutional freedoms. He drew on his own experiences of being a Japanese American and being rounded up and detained in an internment camp during WWII.
Judge Takasugi was one of the first judges to issue an opinion overhauling a portion of the Patriot Act in 2002. He said the law classifying terrorist groups deprived the defendants of due process rights because they were not given a chance to rebut the terrorist allegations before their group was placed on the list.
His most enduring legacy has been the mentorship and support of countless law students and young lawyers, including through pro-bono bar preparation and through the creation of the Robert Takasugi Public Interest Fellowship.
The fellowship has worked to carry on Judge Takasugi's influence, independence, courage, and vision of equal justice.
You can donate to and apply for the fellowship here: http://takasugifellowship.
CONTACT: Affad Shaikh, CAIR-LA Civil Rights Manager, 714-776-1847, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, September 14, 2009
The ability to exaggerate and create fear is certainly a skillful task. Below is such an example which I received from someone as a joke.
SCIENCE: BREAD IS DANGEROUS
- More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
- Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households
score below average on standardized tests.
- In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations.
- More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
- Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat, begged for bread after as little as two days.
- Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cream cheese.
- Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey, bread-pudding person.
- Newborn babies can choke on bread.
- Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than two minutes.
- Most American bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.
Of course, there is nothing dangerous about bread. Well, may be French bread is dangerous. You know those French are dangerous. I can show you the stats for that. :)
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Content and Media Strategist, Editor, Writer, Educator
September 8, 2009 08:21 PM
Ignorance is the real enemy, and in an effort to mend fences and grow relationships Muslims and Jews in Chicago have been part of the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative for several years now...
Ramadan is an opportune time to share one's traditions, especially inter-faith efforts. On September 13, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and Anshe Shalom Bnai Israel Congregation are hosting 'Iftar in the Synagogue,' where they will play host to Chicago’s Muslims and Jews in a communal iftar for an evening of what both traditions do best: eating, praying, discussing and schmoozing in a unique interfaith setting.
Ramadan, this year, coincides with the Jewish month of Elul, which is a time of repentance in preparation for the high holidays. Participants in the event include Council on American-Islamic Relations, a member of the JMCBI. Attendees from The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), a community-based Muslim nonprofit that works for social justice, will also be there...
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Morning Sentinel Newspaper
Muslim roots in Jerusalem as deep as Jews, Christians
In his letter to the editor ("Jerusalem belongs to Jews, not Muslims," Aug. 23), Andrew Busque denies Islam's historical connection to Jerusalem.
Muslim roots in Jerusalem go as deep in history as their faith in all the prophets, up to the Prophet Muhammad, who instructed Muslims initially to pray in the direction of Jerusalem.
The Islamic centerpiece of Jerusalem is Haram Al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), the compound in the Old City that contains both the Dome of the Rock mosque and the even more significant Al-Aqsa mosque, one of the three holiest places in the world for Muslims.
The Quran states: "Glorified be He (God) who took his servant (Muhammad) for a journey by night from Al-Haram mosque (in Mecca) to Al-Aqsa mosque (in Jerusalem), whose precincts We have blessed." (17:1)
This verse refers to the Prophet Muhammad's miraculous night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, and from the rock now located in the Dome of the Rock mosque to heaven. Many other references in the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad focus on the significance of Jerusalem, repeatedly calling it the sacred land and the blessed land.
While maintaining a strong historical connection to Jerusalem, Muslims also recognize its importance to the Christian and Jewish faiths. Any lasting peace in the Middle East will depend on respecting the historical claims of Muslims, Christians and Jews, thereby symbolizing the religious tolerance and freedom for which this holy city stands.
Hussam Ayloush, director
Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area
Original letter to which I responded:
To whom does the land of Israel belong? The recent increase in attempts to negotiate a Mideast peace and establish a Palestinian state have again raised this question, which has been asked numerous times.
The Palestinians insist that a separate state for them must include Jerusalem as its capital as is their "right." Israel has rightly rejected that false claim.
The real issue at hand though is the ongoing hatred for Israel and Jews and a refusal to acknowledge Israel's right to exist.
Of course, Arab hostility against Israel is not a modern phenomenon. The current conflict has roots that go back many generations. Palestinian claims to sovereignty over portions of the Holy Land, and particularly over Jerusalem, are illegitimate not only in light of biblical text, but also in the light of centuries of history.
Jewish identification with Israel goes back almost 4,000 years, when God told Abraham to leave his homeland of Ur Kasdim and to go "to the land that I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). God promised this land to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac forever.
Israel became a nation 2,000 years before the rise of Islam and has had an unbroken presence in the Holy Land for centuries.
Jerusalem is mentioned 700 times in the Scriptures, but not once in the Quran, and Mohammed never even visited Jerusalem. The Holy City of David is the rightful capital of the Jewish state. End of story.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
By: Rev. Peter Laarman
Executive Director of Progressive Christians Uniting
Islamic Shura Council of Southern California - Interfaith Dinner – August 30, 2009
As-salaam alaikum…and good evening. It is an honor to be with you in this holy month and on this important occasion for reflection and celebration.
The topic of fasting and peacemaking interests me a great deal, although I must say right away that my own fasting experience is pathetically limited. And so as not to appear before you as a total fraud, and also because it is worth doing, I want to expand the sense of fasting to include intense meditation, intense worship, reverie, the kind of awestruck experience engendered by transformative art: any avenue taking us away from the crush of routine and away from what are essentially deadened thoughts and feelings.
I mean deadened quite literally. It is my contention, but not just mine, that the human spirit’s life in the late 20th and now the 21st century has been under constant assault from the pervasive fear-based regimentation that characterizes our U.S. culture in particular. Not that the same fear-based regime does not operate in other cultures, but that it mostly originates here.
One of the most pervasive forms of violence—and a form that contributes tremendously to the death of thought and feeling, although we do not like to discuss it—is economic violence, with the U.S. as the only industrial power that still treats joblessness and poverty as personal moral failings.
But this economic violence itself has spiritual roots. There is surely a spiritual reason why there is in 21st century America so much free-floating anxiety, so much aggression and virulent racism, and also so much fear-based illness and neurosis and sociopathology. To treat all of that anxiety and neurosis, we medicate and self-medicate at more than twice the rate of persons living in other rich countries. I should say here by way of a footnote that one of the reasons that health care reform with cost containment is proving so hard to achieve in the United States is that the big drug companies see a horizon of unlimited future profits in having a whole society that continues to medicate itself massively for free-floating anxiety.
I need not mention how our high anxiety predisposes us to treat other peoples and other lands. There is, in other words, a spiritual reason as well for the aggressive and unreflective stance toward other peoples and other lands that continues to mark America’s profile in the world, even with the change in national administrations. My task here is not to detail these symptoms or describe their genesis in depth: I am confident you will recognize what I am talking about.
It is in light of this secular regime of unremitting violence that I ask us to consider the beauty and power of sacred time apart, of sacred breathing in and breathing out the glory of the Almighty, the All-Merciful, and the heartbreaking beauty of everything God has made for our enjoyment—earth itself, light, water, stars, fish, lions, all living things, all green things, and of course human beings: the creatures God made just little lower than the angels. We just heard the incredible beauty of the Call to Prayer given by Qari Youssef: even that brief moment of vocal ecstasy took us to a place of healing, as intended.
My religious point is simple: if the secular industrial machine has the lethal capacity to deaden our spirits, then fasting and prayer and focused meditation possess the saving capacity to revive them. And when that refreshment happens, it is not just personal growth that is taking place within ourselves: it is also growth in the aggregate of human resistance to psychological coercion and soul-killing violence everywhere.
In my faith, Jesus—whom you revere as a prophet and whom we revere as God’s self-expression—Jesus takes time apart to pray and reconnect to the divine power. But he also does things with his friends that are highly disruptive to routine, deadened thinking.
He speaks in parables, which are like puzzles. The parable of the pearl, for example, has a kind of zen quality (Mt. 13.45-46). And again and again, Jesus speaks of losing one’s life in order to find one’s life. And here I do not think he always means redemptive self-sacrifice, although at times he clearly does mean that. Losing one’s life also points to slipping out of the psychological chains of the domination system and escaping the mindset of those caught up in the perpetual reign of terror that is any society in which the few are entirely free to oppress the many.
There is another image of Jesus as a subverter of false consciousness—my own favorite image—that comes at the end of John’s gospel when the post-resurrection Jesus is back with his friends at the Sea of Tiberias. The disciples go out fishing at night but get nothing until Jesus shouts out to them to cast the net on the other side. Immediately the nets are filled, and they know it’s him. But here is the sweestest part: when the disciples finally wade ashore, Jesus already has a charcoal fire going and suggests they bring over some of those freshly-caught fish. And then Jesus says, “Come and have breakfast.” (Jn. 21.12)
“Come and have breakfast”: it’s another way of saying, “Remember me this way, as your intimate friend in a place apart where time just slips away.”
The times we take for fasting and prayer—and also the times we take for feasting and celebration—all make us stronger and better able to resist psychological coercion. The times we take to behold the beauty of this earth and the beauty of one another subvert and sometimes even defeat the dreadful violence inflicted by this society. The times we take to tell our stories and inscribe our hopes and our follies and our vulnerabilities upon the hearts of others make all of us more fully human and more fully alive to the possibility of tenderness.
When we break our routines, we begin to break the power of mass society to kill the soul. We do not fast and pray for political reasons—we fast and pray because we need to—but our reconnection to the ground of all being becomes powerfully political nevertheless.
A great Christian preacher and teacher, William Sloane Coffin, used to say that religion is always personal but never private. If it’s any good, it will make a difference in this world. You know this well, and you demonstrate it daily in the works of peace and charity done by committed Muslims.
Thank-you friends, for making a spiritual and social difference during this holy month and in every month.
Let us teach one another to pray and to listen. Let us teach one another to step out of our deadened selves and into divine peace and joy. Let us teach one another to resist domination. And ours will yet be a force able to overcome the forces of violence and death.
- Peter Laarman