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Intelligence document: U.S. Muslim community may be target of hate crimes

Tensions stemming from the death of Osama Bin Laden and uprisings throughout the Middle East may result in attacks on Muslim-based groups in the United States, according to an advisory from the New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center.

The New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center wrote in the advisory that it has no specific information regarding a credible threat against religious organizations or facilities at this time.

However, several recent crimes against Muslim facilities and organizations around the country have put law enforcement officials on the lookout for further incidents.

This past Saturday, at least three masked men—caught on surveillance video—attempted to burn down the Madrasah Islamiah Mosque in Southwest Houston, Texas, igniting several prayer rugs in the main prayer room.

No injuries were reported in the suspected arson attempt and there was no significant damage to the building, according to a spokesperson for the Houston Fire Department.

The Houston Fire Department is investigating the crime but the spokesperson said there are “no indicators as this point to suggest the incident was a hate crime.”

The FBI and ATF are also monitoring the investigation but are not actively involved.

A mosque in Shreveport, La., was vandalized on May 9 when pork-which is considered unclean by Muslims-was discovered on the door handles of the building. Additionally, derogatory phrases like “Osama today, Islam tomorrow” were spray-painted on a mosque in Portland, Maine on May 2.

And in New Jersey, two incidents on May 5 have law enforcement officials on alert for other incidents. The Paterson-based American Arab Forum received a threatening phone call from an unknown individual and in Atlantic City a Koran was removed from a mosque and found in the trash several days later.

With one of the fastest growing Arab populations in the United States and tensions rising since the death of Bin Laden, the advisory tells law enforcement officials and community leaders throughout the state to “maintain vigilance and recognize behaviors indicating potential extremist activity.”

Police and other law enforcement officials are warned to be on look out for potential indicators of criminal activity, such as an increase in threats from unidentified sources, surveillance of facilities, security posts, and entry/exit points, and unattended backpacks, briefcases or other items.

Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said there has been a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment since the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Hooper said that international events have sparked incidents against Muslims in the past but finds it strange that the death of Osama Bin Laden would elicit such negative reactions from many across the nation.

“I guess any kind of international event brings out the worst in some people,” he said. “It’s quite disturbing.”

Islam and Peace

What is Islam? A religion followed by Muslims. They believe that there is only one God who is Almighty and has created the whole universe. They believe that there will be an end to all this world and life, and after that everyone will have to answer to Allah about his or her deeds in this world. The world hereafter has two destinations for the people in this world either they go to heaven- if they do good deeds or they are sent to hell- if they do crimes or indulge in evil activities.

They follow there Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.) peace be upon him. He (S.A.W.) is the messenger of Allah and has enlightened the path towards Heavens in the never ending life hereafter.

What is the concept of peace in Islam? Muslims believe in a strict policy of denying discrimination on the basis of color, race, language and gender. Moreover Islam teaches them that there is no one superior to the other, everyone is equal in front of Allah but those who observe “TAQWA”. Moreover Islam teaches them to prefer others’ needs over their own ones- to give others even when you need something yourself. These teachings show that Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims believe that even in case of war against anyone, they are forbidden to harm any children or women or even anyone who has no aggression against them.

So weather it is a war or a state of pace, Islam and Peace stay connected.

Smear tactics behind terror bill

Video besmirches institutions, stokes fear of Muslims

Isn’t it time for state Sen. Bill Ketron to come clean?

After co-sponsoring legislation that put a target on Muslim beliefs, then revising the bill to remove any reference to Islam, the Murfreesboro Republican now has handed out to fellow senators a video packed with lies and distortions that obviously is intended to galvanize support for his bill, the Material Support to Designated Entities Act.

And yes, the focus is back on Muslims in this diatribe, which accuses Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University and the Islamic Center of Nashville of tolerating, even encouraging Islamic extremism.

The assertions in the video are easily debunked. Its claims that Carlos Bledsoe, a Memphian who converted to Islam and is accused of killing an Arkansas Army recruiter, was radicalized in Nashville, are specious. Local Muslims have said they barely remember the man, who studied at TSU and attended the Islamic Center. Court documents in Arkansas have shown that Bledsoe’s first exposure to terrorists was in Yemen, where he moved to teach English after leaving Nashville.

Neither do the passages in the video regarding the mosque’s former vice president hold water. Awadh Binhazim’s lectures on Islam at Vanderbilt and elsewhere, as they are detailed in the video, could only be interpreted as promoting radicalism by those with preconceived notions and a complete disregard for fact. For Binhazim to explain to his listeners that many Muslims worldwide are draw to Shariah law is not to say he endorses Shariah law. To explain to listeners that traditional Islamic law imposes the death penalty for homosexuality does not constitute support for that law, and Binhazim has said as much.

The accusations in the video are irresponsible, especially in how they smear two esteemed Tennessee institutions of learning in Vanderbilt and TSU.

While Sen. Ketron has much to answer for with this video, he is not alone in this slimy crusade. After all, the original version of the bill that Ketron and state Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, introduced was not written by either lawmaker, but by Arizona attorney David Yerushami and his staff — Yerushalmi an anti-Muslim activist who has been associated with hate groups. The Eagle Forum delivered the bill to Ketron and Matheny, who have admitted they did not read it before introducing it in the General Assembly.

The video was initially released by another out-of-state entity, Boston-based Americans for Peace and Tolerance, with credit given to the Tennessee Freedom Coalition — both groups with misleading names. The Boston organization touts tolerance but much of its work rests on baseless accusations of radicalism against Muslim leaders in American communities. The Tennessee Freedom Coalition is led by Lou Ann Zelenik of Murfreesboro, who helped inflame the controversy over a proposed Islamic center in Rutherford County during her failed campaign for the Sixth District Republican congressional nomination last summer.

None of the distortions in this video should be accepted as fact by any lawmaker, or any thinking Tennessean, for that matter. If anything, this ploy shows that the existing legislation, even stripped of references to specific religions, is ill-conceived and wrong for Tennessee.

Please, Sen. Ketron, do admit to your constituents and the state as a whole what your motives are, to go to such lengths to bring about this bill. Is it special-interest money? A pet cause on which to hang your ambitions to higher office? Is it a personal fear and dislike of Muslims, as many have suggested?

And if this video fails to change minds, what’s next, senator? “Wanted’’ posters with photos of local Islamic leaders, and the distribution of lanterns and pitchforks to the general population?

Source: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110519/OPINION01/305190019/Smear-tactics-behind-terror-bill

Setback for CPI, Muslim leader quits

The Communist Part of India (CPI) suffered a major setback after its senior leader and national council member M Rehmatullah joined the Muslim League on Tuesday. What spurred Rehmatullah’s decision was the party’s seeking an explanation from him after its dismal performance in Eranad (Malappuram) in
the recently-concluded assembly polls, where the candidate had lost his deposit.

His decision comes as a shot in the arm for Muslim League. Its popularity chart is already looking up — in the assembly polls, it got 20 seats out of the 24 contested.

“Minorities are increasingly getting marginalised in the communist movement, my exit is not for any office or position,” Rehmatullah said after calling on the Muslim League chief Panakkad Hyerali Shihab Thangal.

Shocked, the CPI has convened an emergency meeting to expel the leader. “It is a disgraceful event. It is good for the party to throw out such traitors,” said CPI state secretary C K Chandrappan.

Many minority leaders have left the CPM camp recently, but this is the first time a senior leader is leaving the CPI. Former Alapuzha MP K Manoj resigned recently from the CPM decrying the party’s move to curb religious freedom.

UDF settles govt formation

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), which managed a wafer-thin majority in the just-concluded assembly elections with 72 seats (of 140), on Tuesday finalised ministry sharing.

The Muslim League will have four ministers and the Kerala Congress (Mani) two. One each will go to the JD(S), Kerala Congress (Jacob), RSP (B) and Kerala Congress (Pillai).

The Congress will have 10 ministers including Oommen Chandy, who will be chief minister.

Chandy, along with seven other leaders, will be sworn in on Wednesday. The cabinet would be expanded on May 23, UDF convener PP Thankachhan said.

4 Muslim-backed parties in fray, split in votes feared

The Maulana Ajmal Badruddin-led Assam United democratic front has announced its decision to contest all 403 seats in the 2012 Assembly elections, setting the stage for an intense battle for Muslim votes in Uttar Pradesh.

Two Muslim-dominated political outfits — Peace Party of India and Ulma council — are already in the fray, while the Jamaat-e-Islami recently launched its political arm, Welfare Party of India (WPI). This party is in the process of launching its UP unit next month. All four parties are projecting themselves not as exclusively Muslim parties but as representing all sections of society.

The AUDF emerged as the second largest party in the recent Assam Assembly elections, doubling its tally from nine to 18 seats. The success prompted AUDF to take the plunge in UP politics.

The four parties claim there is nothing new or unusual in the formation of several parties backed by Muslims. “It’s an assertion of desire of Muslims and other oppressed sections of society to have an independent political force. All four parties have a secular agenda and represent interests of all sections of society,” said Ilyas Azmi, state president of Jan Sangharsh Morcha. “That is why the WPI has joined the Morcha, and AUDF and Ulma Council are likely to join soon.”

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/4-Muslim-backed-parties-in-fray–split-in-votes-feared/792949/

Malaysia to Plan Global Islamic Dollar Bond

Malaysia is said to be planning a 10- year dollar-denominated Islamic bond, its second sovereign sale of Shariah-compliant debt in a year, four people familiar with the matter said.

Three local investment banks submitted pitches proposing a size of $500 million to $1.7 billion, said the people who couldn’t be named as the matter is confidential. The deadline for the request for proposals from bankers has closed, they said.

An offering of 10-year overseas Islamic debt would set a benchmark for the $1 trillion industry, where issuers tend to favor shorter maturities such as five years or less. The government may be willing to pay a higher yield on the notes than non-Shariah-compliant bonds because it wants to strengthen Malaysia’s position as the global hub for Islamic finance and the biggest market for sukuk, the people said.

“Malaysia’s sovereign bonds have always been sought after because they are rare,” Lum Choon Kuan, head of fixed-income research at CIMB Investment Bank Bhd., a unit of Malaysia’s second-biggest bank, said in a telephone interview in Kuala Lumpur today. Proceeds are likely to be used to part-refinance a $1.75 billion non-Islamic, dollar-denominated bond that matures in July, he said.

The finance ministry has yet to take a final decision on the potential sale, said a government official who also declined to be named because of confidentiality. The prime minister’s press aide Sarifudin Ahmad said he couldn’t comment when contacted by phone.
Spread With Treasuries

The Southeast Asian nation sold $1.25 billion of the five- year dollar-denominated Islamic bonds in May last year at a 180 basis-point premium over U.S. Treasuries. The yield difference has since shrunk to 97 basis points today, approaching a March 31 low of 88 basis points, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The yield on the 3.928 percent sukuk maturing in June 2015 was little changed today at 2.45 percent, prices from Royal Bank of Scotland Group show. It reached 2.33 percent on Nov. 4, the lowest since the debt was sold.

Average rates on global sukuk dropped three basis points to 4.06 percent yesterday, the lowest level since March 2005, according to the HSBC/NASDAQ Dubai US Dollar Sukuk Index. The difference between the average yield for sukuk and the London interbank offered rate narrowed eight basis points to 242, the index showed.
Ringgit Sales Surge

Shariah-compliant bonds gained 4.8 percent this year, according to the HSBC/NASDAQ Dubai US Dollar Sukuk Index. Debt in developing markets rose 3.8 percent, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global Diversified Index shows.

Sales of ringgit-denominated Islamic bonds rose 72 percent this year to 12.4 billion ringgit ($4.1 billion) from the same period in 2010, Bloomberg data show. The government has announced a $444 billion 10-year development plan that includes a mass railway in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia may also sell local- currency sukuk to help finance the construction of the 48 billion ringgit network, Prime Minister Najib Razak said on March 29.

The Bloomberg-AIBIM-Bursa Malaysia Sovereign Shariah Index, which tracks the most-traded ringgit-denominated government securities, was at 102.403 yesterday. The gauge has gained 1.3 percent this year.

Global sales of sukuk, which pay asset returns to comply with Islam’s ban on interest, climbed to $5.9 billion this year, from $5.4 billion in the same period of 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Elffie Chew in Kuala Lumpur at [email protected].

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sandy Hendry in Hong Kong at [email protected].

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