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http://newsbusters.org/blogs/alana-goodman/2010/06/10/former-cair-lobbyist-hired-report-muslim-issues-nytimes A journalist hired by The New York Times to report on a controversial mosque at 9/11's Ground Zero and the failed Christmas Day bomb plot previously held a government lobbying position at the Council on American Islamic Relations. The Associated Press and ABC News also enlisted former CAIR workers to cover stories involving the Muslim community, raising concerns over whether it's ethical for objective media outlets to hire ex-advocacy group employees to report on the issues they previously championed. Sharaf Mowjood, who helped pen the Islam-focused articles for The New York Times and the Times' worldaffairs paper the International Herald Tribune in December of 2009, worked as a government relations coordinator for CAIR up until at least March of 2008. Mowjood's gushing, 1,200-word article on the controversial mosque planned for construction near the former site of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks was titled "Muslim Prayers and Renewal Near Ground Zero." All eight of the sources cited in the piece said they approved of the project or lauded its advocate Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. "Those who have worked with him say if anyone could pull off what many regard to be a delicate project, it would be Imam Feisal, whom they described as having built a career preaching tolerance and interfaith understanding," read the enthusiastically pro-Rauf article, which was double bylined with reporter Ralph Blumenthal. The proposed ground zero mosque has elicited anger from family members of 9/11 victims who said the project would be disrespectful to the thousands of people murdered in the name of Islam during the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks. However, Mowjood's article made no mention of legitimate criticism against the planned mosque. Instead, it portrayed opponents of the prayer center as sources of potential anti-Muslim violence. "[T]here is anxiety among those involved or familiar with the project that it could very well become a target for anti-Muslim attacks," wrote Mowjood and Blumenthal. "Joan Brown Campbell...who is a supporter of Imam Feisal, acknowledged the possibility of a backlash from those opposed to a Muslim presence at ground zero." The article's approving tone was consistent with the views of CAIR, an adamant supporter of the ground zero prayer center. "[B]uilding this mosque is the solution, not the problem, because Islam calls for ... a culture of moderation," CAIR's executive director Nihad Awad told the Arab American News on May 22. But the reporter's background might conflict with the Times ethical standards. The Times' code of ethics says that reporters "should be vigilant in avoiding any activity that might pose an actual or apparent conflict of interest and thus threaten the newspaper's ethical standing." The Times has not yet responded to requests for comment on whether Mowjood's prior lobbying past constituted a conflict of interest. CAIR, which calls itself a "grassroots civil rights and advocacy group," has come under fire in the past for its alleged ties to international terrorist organizations. Lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as Federal Bureau of Investigation officials have accused CAIR's founders of supporting Palestinian terror group Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip. CAIR has also sparked criticism for refusing to fully condemn Islamic extremism. In an article Mowjood wrote for ABC News on the FBI shooting death of a Detroit imam, he even quoted other CAIR members, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). IPT reported that CAIR "has been ginning up allegations about the shooting for months." The Times and ABC News are not the only media outlets that have hired a former CAIR employee to write on controversial Muslim issues. The Associated Press also employed former CAIR Canada spokeswomen Hadeel Al-Shalchi to cover subjects like Israel-Palestine relations, the Goldstone report that condemned Israel, the
He is also the imam of the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury. many of Al-Shalchi's articles do not include the word "terrorist" to describe terrorist organizations.' wrote the IPT. "In particular. Bush presidency as "one of the darkest periods in U. 2008 titled "After years of Bush." In the same article. This is the same mosque Congressman Peter King had cut ties with after 9/11 due to disparaging statements they made about all of us. analysts say.'" Still working as an Egyptian correspondent for the AP. Arabs see hope in Obama. along with Faroque Khan.S. Islamonline is a website tied to the radical Islamic political group the Muslim Brotherhood. jawa | March 21. Nayyar Imam. "If Obama wants to rally Muslim support to rein in Iran. Al-Shalchi's story "cast the Brotherhood as moderate and Brotherhood spiritual leader and Islamonline founder Youssef al-Qaradawi as a ‘relative moderate." she wrote." Al-Shalchi also fails to hide her condemnation of the prison at Guantanamo Bay in an article from Nov. reported the IPT. he needs to move to end Israel's occupation of the West Bank. In a June 1. policies would ever change.-Middle East relations. "The [Muslim Brotherhood] website described Islamonline as ‘the most prominent voice of the global Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Shalchi was assigned by AP to cover a dispute over the Qatari-based website Islamonline in March of 2010. head of NY American Muslim Alliance and affiliated with Islamic Society of North America. the bloodshed in Iraq.org MASJID IMAM (DIRECTOR): • ABDUL RAZZAK AZIZ LEGAL COUNSEL: • MAQSOOD SIDDIQUI . Gaza and east Jerusalem.S. They haven't been to date.and she included the Gaza strip. abuse at Abu Ghraib and prisoners at Guantanamo convinced many that the United States was an anti-Arab. A feeling of despair and hopelessness became widespread and few believed U. which Israel withdrew from in the summer of 2005.Muslim relations. anti-Jewish textbooks coming out of the Crescent School. However. Larry Cohler-Esses of the Daily News wrote about anti-Christian. same address as mosque. anti-Muslim bully. CAIR NY Bd member ISLAMIC ASSOCIATION OF LONG ISLAND Phone: 631-732-1235 Fax: 631-732-6657 Email:info@seldenmasjid. he will have to prove his good intentions elsewhere. and instead use the words "extremist" or "militant. fears of war with Iran. Al-Shalchi refers to the George W. lands the Palestinians want for a state. 2009 article on U.Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic radicalism. Al-Shalchi referred to Palestinian land as being "occupied" by the Israelis . Ghazi Khankan of CAIR is also at this mosque.S. "What Islam is All About"." she wrote. 835 Brush Hollow Road. Islamic Association of Long Island. 2004 4:59 PM Rauf is imam of a mosque that is just 12 blocks from where the WTC center stood. When pressed about the hateful content of the textbooks." "Over past years. 7. Yahiya Emerick is the publisher of the books and a teacher at the school. Rauf said the books should be changed." In the past. CAIR has campaigned against linking the term "terrorist" with Islam.
but not surprised. And they are saddened. he is not involved in Islam.nytimes. they have been waging jihad. of the United American Muslim Association mosque in Dix Hills. leading a Friday afternoon prayer service at the Bait ulHuda mosque in Amityville. foreground). Phil Marino for The New York Times Imam Ahmed Yuceturk.PRESIDENT • JAVAID AKTHAR PRESIDENT-ELECT • IQBAL CHAUDHRY VICE-PRESIDENT • NAWAB FARIDI SECRETARY • SYED HAFIZ UR RAHMAN TREASURER • BILAL MALIK BOARD OF TRUSTEE • CHAIRMAN .TAHIR QURESHI • VICE-CHAIRMAN . Phil Marino for The New York Times Haq Kauser.OVAIS SHEIKH • MEMBERS: ABDUL ABUMUSALLAM. Muslims on Long Island say. when non-Muslims misunderstand what that means. IQBAL SAYED For Island's Muslims.TAHOUR CHOWDHURY. a Time to Be Wary By LAURIE NADEL Published: September 4. "If anyone is involved in any kind of terrorist activity." he said. right.com/2005/09/04/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/04limusl. and . FARRUKH BAIG. 11. the imam (in black.html?pagewanted=all IN the four years since Sept. 2005 http://www.
"The community feels under siege." she said. But a survey of 2. who spoke of hostile treatment of ordinary Muslim-Americans after Sept. a majority said they had a favorable opinion of Muslim-Americans. While scores of antiMuslim incidents and hate crimes occurred in Nassau and Suffolk in the weeks immediately following 9/11.000 Muslims on Long Island keep as low a profile as they can. it connotes a struggle for spiritual improvement.keep renewing "Islamaphobia. with shouted slurs and threats that led to two arrests. The number of respondents who said they thought Islam encourages violence fell to 36 percent. the executive director of Nassau County's Human Rights Commission. That is our real jihad. expressed doubt that anyone who experienced such incidents firsthand would be willing to discuss them with a reporter.in the Middle East." said Dr. Khan.K. and of the motives behind some of the post9/11 security efforts that seem aimed at Muslims. By contrast." he said. in Madrid. Of the 20 or more mosques on the Island. many of the estimated 75." The word literally means struggle. The telephone survey was conducted from July 7 to 17 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. with the hate-crime count up significantly in the last year. Most of the Island's mosques did not respond to letters and repeated phone calls seeking comment for this article. the president of the Ladies' Auxiliary at the Bait ul-Huda mosque in Amityville. police came to my house and asked some questions. "We do not believe in jihad the way suicide bombers do. Khan. "There is a lot of worry. said Dr. One 36-year-old Egyptian who works as a pizza chef in Long Beach spoke only on the condition that his name not be published. Faroque Khan. from 44 percent in 2003. the anxiety level is high. too. the police recorded only one minor case in each county last year: a vandalized car in Hicksville with an anti-Muslim note left on it. "They went away. It was O. But I don't want trouble. in London . "We teach other people who are not Muslims what the truth of Islam is. and a drunken commotion at a Stony Brook University dormitory." As a result. but properly used. many Muslims on the Island respond with a collective fear and suspicion of those outside their faith." the obsessive fears." In truth.Gunal Gunacar at afternoon prayer. The trend is different nationally." said Bushra Butt. agreed. "These people are very reticent to come forward. suspicions and prejudices that many people of other backgrounds harbor toward Muslims. And though a similar term has not yet been coined for it. The name Islam itself means peace. Leaders like Dr. only 4 list their telephone numbers in the Yellow Pages and other directories. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. and I understood. not a holy war born of hatred. 63." Dr. "After the London bombings. The concern is that the laws as they have been implemented are chipping away at what we cherish so much here: civil rights. it appears that there has not been much trouble lately on Long Island. the president of the Islamic Center of Long Island. "After 9/11.000 people conducted after the July 7 bombings in London indicates that Islamaphobia may be ebbing nationally. a physician who lives in Jericho and who emigrated from Kashmir in 1966. But the continuing terror attacks committed in Islam's name by Al Qaeda and others . religious leaders on the Island say. in Westbury. 11. Renaire Frierson. Khan said. Muslim groups say. part of the nonprofit Pew Research Center in Washington. .
"Most religions encourage tolerance and peace. "but if somebody is on the margin." That view was expressed most recently in a fatwa." said Ahmed Yuceturk. like fire and water in the same place." he said. houses of worship and community centers in Suffolk. who emigrated from Pakistan in 1982." Muslim leaders on Long Island try to take such antipathy in stride and are quick to dissociate themselves from the terrorists whose crimes. But I don't see that we've done that.C. 55. 26. Khan of the Westbury mosque acknowledged that such a decree would have no effect on Al Qaeda. who works as a school social worker in Farmingdale. they found one in New Jersey. said that his views were merely common sense." he said.they found one in Queens. "As a Jew. issued by a council of 18 leading Islamic scholars on July 28. "That kind of perception they get from the media. but Pollyanna has left the building. 42. "Extremists. chants and sermons into their section of the mosque. "The more we educate people." The other three participants on Long Island did not return phone calls seeking interviews. Joel Miller. no matter who they are. 30 men and 26 women assembled for afternoon prayers at the Bait ul-Huda mosque in Amityville. "I give police officers who are graduating from the academy a copy of the Koran in English. .L. Yuceturk said.they shoot first and ask questions later. "People think that every Muslim is against Western society. carry things too far. "We should loosen up our laws just the way they do in Britain. They don't worry about the A. they say. "Islam cannot be used in the same sentence as terrorists. the women covered their heads with silk scarves and prostrated themselves on a double layer of thick wool carpet. "How many terrorists are there who are Muslim? Maybe 100. Imam. Which is what I think we should do here. the more we will be better off.6 billion people live in peace. I should be more sensitive to the victimization that the Muslims say they are experiencing. the fatwa may cause them to think differently. an imam who lives at the United American Muslim Association mosque in Dix Hills.U. you change the locks so the burglars can't get in again." said Mrs. He operates a pharmacy in Coram and serves as a trustee of his mosque in Selden. and more willingness to suspect all Muslims of complicity in terrorism. housed in a former Knights of Columbus hall." The hope is that it may also cause non-Muslims to think differently." Mr. He frequently gives talks about Islam in schools. condemning extremism and terrorism in strong terms. But others on the Island expressed less tolerance." said Nayyar Imam. Dr." Margie Miller of Baldwin. have unfairly tarred Islam's reputation. "We see our religion being hijacked. Miller. A crackling audio system piped prayers. harmony and treat their neighbors nice. a member of the Suffolk County Commission on Human Rights." Mr. ." On a recent Friday. Separated from the men by a thick velvet curtain.000? But 1. lives with his wife and family in Mount Sinai.Pew supplied the first names and phone numbers of the four Long Islanders included in the survey. One of them. 63. a recently retired Hebrewschool teacher. "Why couldn't they find a sleeper cell on Long Island . Kevin Loudy of Selden. "If your house is burglarized. 50. worked for Marsh & McLennan on the 97th floor of One World Trade Center and died in the 9/11 attack. Loudy. referring to the Muslim population worldwide. said she struggled to feel compassion for Muslims. or religious decree. whose husband." said Cathy Costello. "They are opposites to each other." said Mr. a Hampton Bays legal secretary.
established in the United States since 1920. who works in one of the libraries at Stony Brook University. It puts a burden on us to say there is a distinction." he said. Alladin said. but when they began to pray. were flying back to New York from a convention in Chicago. 61." she said. Miller of Baldwin." said Naeem Ahmad." Bait ul-Huda means "house of guidance. and the attitude of the air hostess was hostile. and a woman with a young child who was seated nearby moved to another part of the plane. People do understand that all Muslims are not the same. said. Not so. including Mrs. "This is our way. "We don't mind it at all. "I know you have nothing to do with that. he said. "We Muslims are the peacemakers. telling him with tears in his eyes." To Mr."We pray for peace for all mankind. Last October." The Council on American-Islamic Relations." he said. "We have special prayers. remembered attending a function soon after Sept." Some do. who believe that Mirza GhulamAhmad. an engineer from East Meadow. a project manager for Symbol Technologies who lives in North Babylon." After Friday prayers." said the imam. and for that reason have not tended to speak out as a group. 31. "We haven't done this before. "We were sitting in the front rows of the plane. Haq Kauser. Dr." The flight attendant refused to serve them for the rest of the flight. and it was time for our evening prayer. "We figured out people are uneasy because of the 9/11 incident. occasionally. said she and her companions tried to be philosophical. . but Rizwan Alladin. like Mrs." she said. Butt. "A friend was playing with my PalmPilot. 'If I ever find out you're a terrorist. Butt. every society has its own share of maniacs. born in northern India in 1835." and it is a gathering place for followers of the Ahmadiyya movement. Mr. I can't blame. five women from the congregation. a national advocacy group. Khan said Mrs. for all races. Mrs. "And this person. Mr. Alladin and eight other men at the mosque joined a conversation with a reporter about how Muslims are perceived. moments of silence. whom I knew very well. demonstrating and speaking out publicly. question why the Muslims they see on television. Others. always seem to be the ones cheering for Al Qaeda. Alladin. Mr. 11. he is not involved in Islam. and 90 percent of the names in my address book were Muslim. Miller's question was "very valid. was a prophet or messiah foretold by Muhammad. or to terrorism directed against Muslims in many parts of the world. is trying to get the word out. but "it hasn't reached the guy on the street. The group." he said. Every religion. If anyone is involved in any kind of terrorist activity. she said. "a couple of people got uneasy." Mr. Ahmad of the Amityville mosque noted a more practical problem: the pacifist strictures of Ahmadiyya Muslims forbid them from joining any kind of street demonstration. with non-Muslims. "I really understand that Americans feel the next terrorist attack will be from a Muslim." There has been an outcry by Muslims who oppose terrorism. Yuceturk of the Dix Hills mosque. is accused of heresy and persecuted in some Asian and Middle Eastern Muslim countries. for all nations. I will kill you. 55. said there had been no friction with other Muslims on Long Island.' " His friend later apologized. the president of the mosque." He criticized the news media for paying little attention to developments like the July fatwa condemning terrorism. "Of course. "Muslims are not that organized. the habit of keeping a low profile contributes to the problem.
"In the end. He said his group was also trying to dissuade some local Muslim groups from distributing anti-Western literature." That was not the sentiment that Judy Grimner of Baldwin recalled hearing a few weeks after Sept. 53. We don't want anyone to die. the director of the group's New York office. teaches sixth grade at W. Long Island's Muslims include a strong contingent of first-generation immigrants who are willing to cooperate with law enforcement and Homeland Security agents. they're just people. 26. 11. Yuceturk at the Dix Hills mosque for help in interpreting it. I was shocked and upset. "Usually we hear people saying. because committees were being formed to encourage and approve Muslim rallies against terrorism. worked on the 98th floor of One World Trade Center. the detectives asked him if the matter was worth investigating. When he was done." Mrs." she said. "About one month after 9/11. Tresper Clarke Middle School in Westbury. We don't want our religion to be hijacked.particularly since the London bombings. 'Muslims never condemn this stuff. but for all our sakes. Mr. "Everyone knew my husband had been killed. Grimner said she had heard that the student's father had taken him to Pakistan for a month over the summer. Recently. when he could have been exposed to anti-American sentiments. "We condemn it. please find this person." Mr.' " said Wissam Nasr. Yuceturk said he told them: "This is not a big deal. Mrs. Grimner." she said. a sixth grader came up to me and said he was happy the terrorists had blown up the World Trade Center. Suffolk police found a copy of the Koran with a verse that had been marked and took it to Mr." . Nasr said that the denunciations would soon grow louder. her husband. "I know only a small number of Muslims are like that. Dave Grimner.
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