Umm Muhammed Umar
4 min read
18 September 2022
Radio Islam spoke to brother Ebrahim Hooper, the National Communications Director for the Council on American Islamic Relations or CAIR, on the America Report. There have been repeated calls for US President Joe Biden to order a US investigation into the deliberate Israeli assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian American journalist who had been gunned down in cold blood. Abu Akleh had been covering a story in occupied Palestine. pressure has been applied to the US government for months now to conduct their own investigation.
Brother Ebrahim said every time Israel commits a violent act, they deny it and blame it on the Palestinians. He said that when it then emerges that Israel had indeed been the aggressor, it offers to investigate the incident, following which they clear themselves of all wrongdoing. He said, “And it’s a pattern, and they hope that by the time the truth comes out, that everybody’s forgotten about it.” Brother Ibrahim added, “unfortunately, our government allows them to follow that pattern, time and time again, and doesn’t hold them accountable.” He said that all they were asking for was that Israel be held accountable for the death of an American citizen, a journalist, at that.
Meanwhile, CAIR Minnesota has called for stepped up police patrols after an attack on a St. Cloud Mosque. now. This is yet another in a series of attacks that have taken place, not just on St. Cloud, but on other Islamic centres in the last year, with Minnesota having reported a number of them. Brother Ebrahim said, “In almost every case, once we bring these incidents to the attention of law enforcement, whether it’s in Minnesota or other states, they do step up to the plate and do what’s necessary. They increase patrols, they work with the community to step up security, whether with surveillance cameras or increase doors that will block intruders, these kinds of things.” He added, “So, it’s, it’s our duty to bring it to their attention, and it’s their duty to carry out the security measures; and when we do our duty, so do they, Alhamdulillah.”
Separately, CAIR has been engaging with the south Windsor police, in Connecticut. Brother Ebrahim said that this was just part of ongoing efforts for the Muslim community. He said, “what’s significant here is that 20 or 30 years ago, the only interaction that American Muslims had with public institutions was with the police. Now with the increasing civic participation of the American Muslim community – there’s Muslim candidates, there’s Muslim elected officials, Muslim judges, Muslim lawyers – engagement with law enforcement is just one aspect of that, whereas it used to be the only aspect unfortunately.”
Meanwhile, on the East Coast of the US, in Massachusetts, an anti-semitic banner had been hung on a highway overpass. CAIR had condemned the act. Brother Ebrahim said, “unfortunately, even bigots have their First Amendment rights here to free speech, as long as they don’t break any laws.” He said, “And this is, I think, part of the growing white supremacist movement nationwide…… It’s the white supremacist threat to America that we really have to worry about and that really causes the violent attacks in minority communities in our country.” He said that Americans were finally beginning to recognize that the ‘Shariah Takeover’ being pushed by right-wingers, years ago, was fictitious, and that the real threat came from the white supremists.
Finally, CAIR California has welcomed the Anti-Street Harassment Bill by the California Governor, Gavin Newsom. Brother Ebrahim said the Bill targeted harassment in public transit systems in California. He said that while it was not a strictly Muslim issue, it was again, “part of that civic engagement of the American Muslim community.” California, according to brother Ibrahim, has one of the largest American Muslim populations, so this was, “evidence of them being involved in all aspects of the society, not just aspects that target Muslims directly.”