About Me

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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, November 24, 2009

Both Thanksgiving and Eid al-Adha Focus on Family, Sharing

Both Thanksgiving and Eid al-Adha Focus on Family, Sharing
By Nihad Awad

(Nihad Awad is national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), America's largest Muslim civil rights organization. He may be contacted at: nawad@cair.com.)

Many American Muslims will eat their turkey a bit late in the day this year because Thanksgiving falls on the same day some Muslims fast until sunset in observance of the Day of Arafah, the spiritual peak of the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca.

Arafah is a hill called "Mount of Mercy" and its surrounding empty plain near Mecca. On this climax of the Hajj season millions of pilgrims of all races and backgrounds, including thousands of Americans, will assemble for supplication to God. This is a physical representation of universal equality and the unity of humankind.

American Muslims have a double blessing this year. They are marking both events, Thanksgiving and the end of Hajj, with activities that stress sharing with others and the importance of family to people of all faiths.

The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on Muslims in that state to volunteer at a soup kitchen as a way to celebrate Thanksgiving and the end of the Hajj. CAIR’s Cincinnati chapter is giving food packages, including turkeys, to needy families.

Thanksgiving week, the Muslims Against Hunger Project is organizing special "Muslims Serve" days to recall the ultimate sacrifice the Prophet Abraham was prepared to make and to offer thanks for God's many blessings.

Hajj and Thanksgiving were also combined in a New Jersey food giveaway for the needy on Sunday in Plainfield, N.J., at the Center of Islamic Enlightenment.

In Mississippi, scores of Muslim volunteers gave up their free time to feed the hungry and homeless in areas particularly hard hit by the national recession.

Muslim university students in North Carolina this year donated food to groups that feed the hungry. While in California, Muslims joined Jews, Buddhists, Baha'is, and Catholics at an interfaith Thanksgiving celebration in a synagogue. Muslims in Iowa, along with representatives of nine other faith traditions, attended the annual Inter-Religious Council Thanksgiving Prayer Service in Cedar Rapids.

In Georgia, Christians, Muslims and Jews came together to share a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. Proceeds from the dinner went to a local food bank.

On Friday, Muslims in America and worldwide will celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha, or "festival of the sacrifice." "Eid" also commemorates the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God's command. The holiday is celebrated with prayers, gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. You may hear the greeting “Eid Mubarak,” or “have a blessed holiday.”

And you know Thanksgiving and Eid al-Adha are now sharing the same spiritual and social space when Best Buy, for the first time, puts a "Happy Eid Al-Adha" in its "Black Friday" newspaper insert.

As with Thanksgiving, Eid al-Adha is a time when everyone counts their blessings and offers thanks for friends and family, even if circumstances may not be the best in any particular year.

"The first to be summoned to paradise on the Day of Resurrection will be those who praise God in prosperity and adversity," said the Prophet Muhammad.

Just as Thanksgiving is a time of family and friends, so too is Eid al-Adha. The Prophet Muhammad told the early Muslims, "[T]hey are days of [eating] and rejoicing with one's family."

The Quran, Islam's revealed text, urges those who reach physical and spiritual maturity to pray: "My Lord! Grant me the grace that I may thank you for the favors that You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do good deeds that will please You."

So this year, despite a weak but recovering economy and other domestic and international troubles, let us all count our blessings and demonstrate true thankfulness by sharing whatever we have with those in need.

Best Buy Wishes Muslims Happy Eid al-Adha

Nov 23, 2009
Todd Wasserman

Best Buy stands by its decision to wish U.S. Muslims a Happy Eid Al-Adha, a rep for the company said, and though some Best Buy customers took offense, a Muslim advocacy group praised the move.

The retailer got some flak this week for including, along with its circular advertising Thanksgiving Day sales, a note saying "Happy Eid Al-Adha," which refers to a holiday of sacrifice for followers of Islam on Nov. 27 this year. After TechCrunch ran an item about the circular, some claimed offense and said they'd take their business elsewhere. "I spent about $3,000 with . . . your store. I will be shopping somewhere else," one consumer wrote on Best Buy's Web forum. "BB has the Muslims covered with the 'Happy Eid,' but what about the rest of us Americans?" wrote another. "Do we get a 'Happy Thanksgiving'?"

(The American Family Association, a Christian advocacy group, has singled out Best Buy for using "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Best Buy rep Lisa Svac Hawks, however, didn't agree with the claim, saying: "You will see more of Christmas in our holiday messaging. Christmas will be included in our insert and online. We have 'Merry Christmas' on our gift cards, too. In addition. we have developed the Christmas Morning simulator as an online interactive game.")

Not everyone was dismissive. "Stop with the hatin' and happy Eid," wrote one TechCrunch commentor. "For every anti-BB post, I'm going to spend $1 there," wrote another.

Hawks explained the thought behind the greeting: "Best Buy's customers and employees around the world represent a variety of faiths and denominations. We respect that diversity and choose to greet our customers and employees in ways that reflect their traditions," she said.

Ahmed Rehab, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he could not recall when any American retailer mentioned the holiday in its ads. "It makes perfect business sense to acknowledge and celebrate a holiday that one out of four people celebrate," Rehab said...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

We All Must Condemn Religious Extremists - By Sheila Musaji

Muslims Must Condemn Religious Extremists

Muslims Must Condemn Religious Extremists

by Sheila Musaji

I am reading and hearing in the media a barrage of articles and editorials demanding that Muslims take a stand against those who condone or commit acts of violence. I would like to go on record as condemning all religious extremism, bigotry, violence, hatred, and terrorism by both Muslims and non-Muslims. I see no difference between any of these. These merchants of hate no matter what their supposed religious affiliation have more in common with each other than they do with the majority of individuals in their respective religious faiths...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Veterans Day service builds bridges

Mediha Fejzagic DiMartino, Staff Writer
The Daily Bulletin

CLAREMONT - The haunting melody of taps echoed through the chapel as Asif Balbale, a Muslim chaplain-candidate in the Navy, recited the names of those who lost their lives in the Fort Hood attack last week.

"Lord, in these tough times, unite us as a nation," Balbale said during the closing prayer...

After the attack, as Muslims across the country condemned the violence, they were also shocked and worried about the backlash.

"This is one of those moments where we have to sit and pray that most Americans will come out stronger, more united, and more tolerant," said Hussam Ayloush, director of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations in Southern California, adding that Muslim organizations have received dozens of death threats and hate e-mails.

But while Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned against allowing "anti-Muslim sentiment" to emanate from the Fort Hood attack, on Monday, during his television program, "The 700 Club," Pat Robertson claimed Islam is not a religion but a violent political system.

Such "simplifications that grow from our deepest suspicions and prejudices" did not sit well with Jerry Campbell, president of the School of Theology...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

CAIR-CA's Engagement with the Muslim Youth 2009

This video highlights CAIR-California offices' efforts to engage young American Muslims by providing them with the appropriate tools and training to become leaders.

CAIR-LA 2009 Banquet- Hussam Ayloush

“Today our work is not about merely protecting your rights to work, travel, and worship, although this is still a critical part of our mission. It is to a great extent, about carving our place in society, ensuring our seat at the table, even if a tiny minority wants us out.

“Like every American, we have the right to have a say in the affairs of our country, and we have a lot to say. We know how it feels to be unfairly suspected, to be an unwanted minority. That made us more committed to upholding our Constitution and passionately defending the rights and dignity of every person in America.

“We are here and we have something to offer. It is not about arrogance, but we are proud in our identity as American Muslims, and we have a lot to offer. And we will not allow anyone to marginalize us.”

Friday, November 06, 2009

Ayloush Comments on Ft. Hood Shootings

Inland mosques being warned about safety after Ft. Hood shootings

Inland mosques and Muslims are being warned to be extra-vigilant in the wake of Thursday's shootings at Ft. Hood, Texas, which were allegedly carried out by a Muslim Army officer.

The Southern California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is e-mailing "Muslim Community Safety Kits" to Muslims throughout the Southland, including in the Inland area, said Munira Syede, a spokeswoman with the group. She said she was unaware of any Inland mosques that have been threatened.

Backlash against Muslims is common in the wake of terror attacks involving Muslim suspects, Syede said.

The e-mails encourage Muslims to report incidents to local police or the FBI, and to save evidence and photographs of incidents. The kit also advises mosques to increase security, and to look out for suspicious packages and letters. In addition, it encourages long-term efforts to build relationships with police, community groups and interfaith organizations.

Hussam Ayloush, CAIR's Southern California executive director and a Corona resident, said the first thing that came to his mind after Thursday's shootings was concern and sadness for the victims and their families.

"The second thing that came to my mind is, 'I hope this person has no connection in any way to the Middle East or Islam,'" Ayloush said.

Ayloush said he knew that, if the person was Muslim, some people--a minority of Americans, he said--would blame all Muslims for the attack.

"There are people who blame Muslims for every evil thing that happens, and they use it to promote Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment," he said. "The American Muslim community is as outraged, angered and saddened by this horrific incident as any other Americans, and even more so because the person responsible is supposed to be a Muslim. But no devout Muslim would ever justify such an act."

Ayloush said CAIR has received phone calls from people threatening to fire their Muslim employees and vowing to make Muslims they pass on the street feel uncomfortable.

"To me what's unfortunate is that when we're mourning the deaths of these young men and women, we have to worry about the safety of our families, kids and communities," Ayloush said. "I shouldn't have to tell my kids to watch out. I shouldn't have to tell my daughter, who wears the head scarf, to not walk alone."

Ayloush said his 16-year-old son wants to join the Army when he gets older.

"Now he has to consider, 'Will I ever being accepted in the Army as a Muslim?'"

—David Olson

Thursday, November 05, 2009

U.S. Muslims Condemn Attack at Fort Hood

A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy group tonight condemned an attack on Fort Hood military base in Texas that left at least 12 people dead.

In a statement, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:

“We condemn this cowardly attack in the strongest terms possible and ask that the perpetrators be punished to the full extent of the law. No religious or political ideology could ever justify or excuse such wanton and indiscriminate violence. The attack was particularly heinous in that it targeted the all-volunteer army that protects our nation. American Muslims stand with our fellow citizens in offering both prayers for the victims and sincere condolences to the families of those killed or injured.”

Along with innumerable condemnations of terror, CAIR has in the past launched an online anti-terror petition drive called “Not in the Name of Islam,” initiated a television public service announcement (PSA) campaign against religious extremism and coordinated a “fatwa,” or Islamic religious ruling, against terrorism and extremism.

SEE: CAIR’s Anti-Terrorism Campaigns

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sh. Qaradawi and producer of "The Lord of the Rings" collaborate to produce film about Prophet Mohammad

Qatari firm to make Prophet Mohammad film
DOHA (Reuters)

A film about the Prophet Mohammad backed by the producer of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Matrix" is under discussion, a Qatar media firm said on Sunday, with the aim of creating an English-language blockbuster for the world's 1.5 billion Muslims.

Filming of the $150 million movie is set to start in 2011, with Barrie Osborne as its producer, Alnoor Holdings said.

Alnoor said the film - in which the Prophet would not be depicted, in accordance with Islamic strictures - was in development and talks were being held with studios, talent agencies and distributors in the United States and Britain...


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