ISSUE 26- June 30,2016
Defending Your Civil Rights!
My Appeal To You
I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself. That is a picture of me and my family when I was a little kid. Can you tell which one is me? I'll give you a hint, I am the one who looks like my mom lost the battle with my hair!
I was born in Fort Worth Texas, my father an Arab Muslim immigrant from Egypt, my mother a Caucasian Convert from the Panhandle of Texas. When I was growing up, being Muslim wasn't a big deal. I didn't grow up feeling like I didn't belong here or that my religion clashed with my American culture. We had no problems buying land to build mosques and never had to condemn atrocities happening on the other side of the world. We just lived our lives like anyone else, at least that was how I saw it as a child.
Today though, our children are often bullied in school, our mosques are routinely vandalized, the FBI knocks regularly on our doors, we have to endure pure hatred at town hall meetings when we want to build a cemetery to bury our loved ones and 14 year old Muslim boys are arrested for building clocks to impress their teachers. The "Muslims" that capture the headlines are most often the ones committing unspeakable atrocities leaving us to pick up the pieces of their criminal horrors as we saw most recently in Orlando.
This is our reality whether we like it or not but there are still a lot of reasons to have hope and be positive about our future.
I have been working for CAIR-DFW for almost 3 years now but I have been an activist in the Muslim community for 12 years and here is what I know. CAIR is the only grassroots Muslim civil rights organization whose sole purpose is to defend your right to be a Muslim and practice your religion freely. We are a nationwide team of passionate people who don't always say or do what is popular but we act because we believe it is right. We challenge the status quo, speak truth to power and are willing to get our hands dirty.
CAIR has stood the test of time, faced challenges that would have made other organizations crumble and we are the most diverse and inclusive Muslim organization in this country in every possible way.
We have worked really REALLY hard to make CAIR-DFW a valuable resource for our community but as hard as we try we are always behind. Case after case flows in and trying to juggle them all, especially without an attorney, is impossible. I get at least 5 media requests per week, PER WEEK! On top of that we have to schedule community events to engage and support our community with the activities and resources needed, like Know Your Rights training, so we can work together to address our challenges proactively.
I'd like those of you who read this to take stock. Where was CAIR-DFW 3 years ago? Where is it now? Much of that work was done with 1 staff member and this last year we had a total of 2! Imagine what we can accomplish if we are fully staffed? Imagine if we weren't always trying to catch the "balls" thrown our way and we started pitching some of them ourselves?
I'm gonna be straight up and lay it out for you. I need additional staff and I need you to help me achieve that goal. I am interviewing potential candidates, as we speak, for a Civil Rights Director position and a Communications/Outreach Coordinator position. There are two critical positions that need to be guaranteed for long-term sustainability. We will keep working our hearts out but we need you to support that work with a generous financial contribution this Ramadan.
I love this organization and I believe in this organization, can you tell? I am not only a staff member for CAIR-DFW but I am also a donor and so is my husband. If you are excited about the work we are doing and you believe in this organization as much as I do, can I count on you to help us meet our Ramadan goal of $75,000 this year? Please say yes. Every amount helps us get closer to our annual goal of $400,000 and we are halfway there!
NATIONAL NEWS HEADLINES
CAIR-DFW RESPONDS AFTER ORLANDO SHOOTING
Almost 2 weeks ago, the world witnessed as a deranged psychopath opened fire inside an Orlando nightclub killing 49 people and wounding 53. This is believed to be the worst mass shooting in U.S. history to date. Before the politicians could exploit this tragedy for their own personal gain, CAIR chapters across the country, especially in Florida, got to work right away responding to the crisis. Whether it was through media engagement, fundraising for victims, vigils, etc.
CAIR wasted no time representing the Muslim community and standing with the LGBT community in the aftermath of this heinous atrocity. CAIR-DFW mobilized community leaders and activists immediately, held a press conference and participated in a vigil in Dallas alongside such notable participants as Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas, Sheikh Omar Suleiman of VRIC and Faith Forward Dallas, Pastor Michael Waters, Cece Cox of the Dallas Resource Center and many others.
CAIR National also coordinated a press conference that was aired live on CNN and gathered many Muslim leaders to respond to the horrific violence. View video below.
Time and time again we are faced with these overwhelming challenges to our community. As the nation's largest civil right's organization serving the Muslim community CAIR is positioned to be on the front lines when these challenges arise and we do not hesitate to act on your behalf. I urge you to support our critical work so we can give North Texas the CAIR Chapter it deserves!
CAIR Staff Member Targeted in Attempt on his Life!
While listening to the Holy Quran through his car speakers and pumping gas outside a local gas station in Richardson, Texas, Omair Siddiqi, a CAIR-DFW staff member was being watched. Little did he know that a man was sitting in the same parking lot waiting for his chance. As Omair finished and drove out of the parking lot, he happened to notice a pick-up truck follow him out onto the street. After a few minutes of driving Omair saw the truck begin to drive aggressively so Omair changed to the left lane to allow the driver to pass thinking that was what he wanted. The truck driver had other plans though. The truck then positioned itself on the right passenger side of Omair's car. He noticed the truck driver yelling out of his window so Omair rolled down his window.
The driver began cursing at Omair telling him to "Take his rag a*% back to your country" and then "I'm going to kill you". When he said that, the driver jerked his truck into Omair's lane almost running into him. This caused Omair to nearly lose control of his vehicle slamming on his breaks and stopping just inches from a light pole on the median. Luckily Omair was able to take a picture of the truck and his license plate and immediately contact 911. Not surprisingly the truck had two stickers on its back window one saying "American Infidel" and the other for "III%" which represents a radical anti-government militia organization.
The response from the Garland Police Department was unfortunately lacking however in taking this matter seriously telling Omair "There is really nothing we can do" in response.
CAIR-DFW wasted no time in issuing a press release calling on the Garland PD to investigate further into Omair's report and see what we already know to be true. This was a hate crime motivated by the driver's hatred of Islam and Muslims plain and simple. We are happy to report the Garland PD is investigating and possibly pursuing "Assault by Threat" charges against the driver.
Can you help support our office by donating today to help us hire an in-house attorney to more effectively respond to such heinous acts?