The Crescent Report

July 11, 2014

AMA Responds To Sheila Jackson-Lee’s Immigration Appeal At Iftar Dinner

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 12:29 pm

Last night I attended a wonderful Iftar dinner on Capitol Hill that was sponsored by MACCPAC. At the dinner Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee gave an impassioned appeal about the immigrant refuge crisis at the border and in her district in Texas and expressed her disapproval at the hostility exhibited towards immigrants, children and their families.

We at AMA along with with the Muslim communities in Houston, TX are responding to her challenge for compassion and national unity by arranging to share Ramadan meals with the refuge families. We are also contacting the masjids on the Texas border area to share their resources with these immigrant families. It is important that we push back against this xenophobia and hostility directed toward immigrants by sharing resources and pushing for U.S. immigration reform.

Imagine a nation of immigrants that fears immigrants. We can and we must do better. After all this is the true spirit of Ramadan.

– Imam Mahdi Bray

July 9, 2014

American Muslim Alliance Calls For Congressional and Presidential Action in Response to NSA and FBI Spying on American Muslim Community Activists

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 3:39 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


American Muslim Alliance Calls For Congressional and Presidential Action in Response to NSA and FBI Spying on American Muslim Community Activists

 

Washington, DC July 9, 2014 – The American Muslim Alliance (AMA) responds to a report published by First Look Media indicating FBI and NSA surveillance of its founder, Dr. Agha Saeed, and other activists in the American Muslim communities by calling for immediate Presidential and Congressional action.

According to AMA’s National Director, Mahdi Bray, “American Muslims were targeted by the NSA and FBI for surveillance based on religious views and Islamophobic hysteria. This type of unwarranted government surveillance should not only be troubling to American Muslim communities but all freedom loving Americans. It clearly runs counter to the core principles of freedom of speech, religion and association which underpin the very fabric of our nation. It is imperative that this government intrusion into the lives of its citizens not only be exposed, but brought to a halt. As citizens, we cannot rely on a government fig leaf response to this unconscionable behavior. It is for this very reason that AMA is calling for Presidential and Congressional action.”

We are well aware that in the 1960s and 1970s, civil rights leaders and activists were subjected to wiretapping and other unlawful and abusive government surveillance practices based not on what they had done, but what they believed and who they were. These practices continue today with some American Muslims being coerced into become informants against their own communities.

AMA calls on Congress and the Obama Administration to provide a full public accounting of these practices and to strengthen protections against the infringement of civil liberties and human rights. This is why AMA is calling for Congressional hearings similar to the Church Committee which exposed the extent of the infiltration of Civil Rights groups and spying on their members.

 

“It is time that Congress exercises its responsibility of oversight by holding hearings in which the American public can better be informed of the true extent of this surveillance. The past has shown us that we cannot trust government assurances of fairness and legality when this surveillance is being conducted without sufficient public oversight,” Bray further stated.

 

We believe that through such oversight we can begin to provide a public platform to reaffirm the right of every civic and religious organization and individual in America to peacefully advocate for social justice at home and abroad without fear of government surveillance, intimidation, and harassment.
Contact:

Mahdi Bray

ImamBray@yahoo.com

202-421-3623

1010 Vermont Ave Ste #718

Washington, DC 20006

March 10, 2014

#MyBrothersKeeper

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Tags: , , — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 1:27 pm

I staunchly support the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. President Obama got it right. I know, I’ve been there! With the help of the Creator and others, I’ve overcome drugs, crime, prison & alienation. “I must be my brother’s keeper”

April 18, 2011

Imam Mahdi Bray and MAS Freedom speak at Syrian rally

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 1:05 pm

Quote of the day: “Truth crushed to the earth, still rises.” 

Imam Mahdi Bray

  

On Saturday, April 16th, despite a driving rainstorm, MAS Freedom Executive Director Imam Mahdi Bray joined hundreds of spirited and determined demonstrators at the Syrian Embassy in Washington, DC to demand an end to the brutal repression of Syrian pro-democracy demonstrators at the hands of Syrian police and security forces of the regime of President Bashir Assad.  The embassy demonstrators, including Muslims and their allies in the U.S. human rights advocacy community, gathered in solidarity with their Syrian sisters and brothers who,, despite suffering hundreds of deaths and injuries, persist in their demand that the Syrian president step down and so that the nation can chart a new future, with respect for universal human rights and genuine democracy.
Many speakers at the rally also recounted gruesome stories of mass killing of dissidents in Syria at the hands of the regime.  In fact, the Syrian president has vowed to continue his violent crackdown under the false pretense of preventing “sabotage”, especially in the Syrian capital city of Damascus.

 Imam Bray, who came to the rally while recovering from a serious illness, excited the crowd by proclaiming that the Muslim American Society Freedom, as leading voice for human rights advocacy in the United States, stood in complete solidarity with the dissident forces in Syria who are suffering at the hands of a violent, dictatorial regime that is becoming more desperate and brutal each day in their refusal to give power to the Syrian people.

Imam Bray stated that “MAS Freedom’s participation in this rally, and our support t for the popular freedom movement that is sweeping the Muslim and Arab world, is a moral and spiritual imperative.  American Muslims and their institutions must not remain silent while governments in majority-Muslim nations use violence and brute oppression in attempting to stop the God- given desire of people for freedom and human dignity.”

Click here to watch Imam Mahdi Speak at the Syrian Rally

April 15, 2011

Imam Mahdi Bray and MAS Freedom joins Syrian human rights activists for freedom and justice rally in front of Syrian Embassy

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 4:11 pm

Muslims in the Muslim world are determined to live with respect, freedom and dignity and they see as them as God given rights.

Check out the piece below.

Quote of the day: you don’t have to be a weather man to know which way the wind is blowing.

Imam Mahdi Bray and MAS Freedom joins Syrian human rights activists for freedom and justice rally in front of Syrian EmbassyWhat: Demonstration in solidarity with the Syrian people

When: April 16, 2011 at 12:00pm

Where: The Syrian Embassy2215 Wyoming

Avenue Northwest,Washington D.C.

For more details:

Press Release 1

Press Release 2

April 4, 2011

Announcing Imam Mahdi Support Fund

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 12:17 pm

Dear Friends and Supporters – Assalam Alaykum (Peace be unto you),

On Wednesday December 29th, 2010, our brother and civil rights activist Imam Mahdi Bray suffered a cerebral stroke while sleeping. Since then, Brother Mahdi has undergone surgery and started his long journey to complete recovery, God willing. While he has shown great signs of improvement in recent weeks, he will still need extensive care and rehabilitation in the coming weeks and months. We are hopeful that his condition will continue to improve God willing. Please keep him in your prayers.

Many of you have expressed concern and a desire to help Mahdi during this difficult time. We have established a trust fund for Br. Mahdi. A unique trust fund has been setup by Imam Mahdi’s friends and well-wishers. All donations to the Imam Mahdi Support Fund Trust will be used for the well-being of Imam Mahdi and his family.

Help support our brother in any way possible. Donate to the Imam Mahdi Support Fund by clicking here.

http://supportimammahdi.chipin.com/imam-mahdi-bray-support-fund

You can also mail your checks to:
Imam Mahdi Support Fund Trust
P.O. Box 7232
McLean, VA 22106

Let’s show our brother Mahdi our love and support.

PLEASE NOTE: Contributions or gifts to the Mahdi Bray Support Fund are NOT tax deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Every gift counts – thank you for your support.

On behalf of the Imam Mahdi Support Fund,

Joshua Salaam, Trustee
Mohammad Rahman, Trustee
Tammam Dandashi, Trustee

January 1, 2011

Official – Update on Imam Mahdi Bray – 1/1/2011

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 1:27 pm
Assalamu aliukum,

Imam Mahdi was working till late night on Wednesday December 29th, 2010, may the Almighty Allah accept from him. It seemed he developed cerebral stroke while sleeping and was immediately transferred to the hospital. He was found to have very high blood pressure and initial CT scan showed he has a hemorrhage in his brain. Repeated scan later in the day showed stable bleeding. An angiogram of his brain showed intact blood vessels. Alhamdulillah, he didn’t need any surgical intervention. He is currently in the Neurosurgical ICU under strict observation.

He was conscious today, recognized friends and family, and held brief conversations. We are hopeful his condition will continue to stabilize insha’Allah.  Imam Mahdi is in need of your prayers to go through this episode and fully recover. Since he is still in critical condition, we are asking visitors to hold off until his condition improves inshaAllah.

Hossam AlJabri
Executive Director, Muslim American Society
“moving people to strive for God consciousness, liberty and justice, and to convey Islam with utmost clarity”
http://www.masnet.org

December 29, 2010

MASF Contacting Members of Congress for Citizens Hearing on Islamophobia among Elected Officials

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 10:45 am

Introduction

US Representative Peter King holding hearing on terrorism and the American Muslims is tantamount to having the fox guard the hen house. Check out the piece below.

Imam Mahdi Bray

 Quote of the Day: “The wolf are no longer at the door. They are actually in the house.”

MASF Contacting Members of Congress for Citizens Hearing on Islamophobia among Elected Officials

 

Citizens Hearing being requested in response to Congressman King’s proposed hearing on terrorism and American Muslims

 

In response to Congressman Peter King’s (R-NY)  proposed congressional hearings on terrorism and American Muslims and the rising incidence of anti-Muslim bias demonstrated by elected officials and other individuals with responsibilities for public safety, security, and law enforcement, MAS Freedom, the civil and human rights advocacy component of the Muslim American Society, indicated that it will move forward to organize a citizens hearing on Capitol Hill that will “bring together members of Congress, national religious leaders, and civil rights advocates to examine the disturbing rise of Islamophobic and biased actions on the part of some elected and public officials who are determined to inappropriately interject their own feelings of prejudice against Muslims into issues that impact not only the well-being of our community, but the very integrity of our constitutional system.”

The citizen’s hearing, planned for early 2011, will offer testimony from noted national interfaith leaders and civil rights advocates who have expressed concerns about the anti-Muslim comments made by some elected officials who have mischaracterized millions of law-abiding and patriotic Muslims and Muslim leaders in the U.S. as “terrorist sympathizers” or “coconspirators” against public safety or the rule of constitutional law.  MAS Freedom has also expressed grave concern that some of these public Islamophobes are involved in training law enforcement agencies, and attempting to interject their own personal agendas into what should be the fair and unbiased enforcement of the law.

Over the last seven years, MAS Freedom has sponsored and participated in other citizen’s hearings on Capitol Hill that examined the critical issues of U.S. policy in Iraq, civil and human rights issues that impact the Muslim community, and the issue of the need for new national health care policies. 

According to Mahdi Bray, the Executive Director of MAS Freedom, “Our proposed citizen’s hearing will invite current and former members of Congress, prominent national religious leaders and organizations to openly challenge the use of our tax dollars by officials who continue to demonstrate bias against Muslims, ignorance of the realities of the Muslim- American community and a disregard for any form of constructive engagement with our organizations and recognized leaders.  I think that Congressman King’s previous bigoted and factually inaccurate statement concerning Muslims definitely calls into question his ability to hold a fair and objective hearing concerning American Muslims. Given the bias and Islamophobic statements made by him and other elected officials, I think it’s more than appropriate that we ask current and former members of congress as well as national religious leaders to participate in a citizens hearing that examines the impact of religious bias and anti-Muslim sentiment exhibited by public elected officials, especially Congressman King. We will continue to struggle for our collective rights.”

Bray also stated that, “as Muslims who want the best for our own community and the nation at large, we cannot sit idly by and allow the personal bias and unwarranted attacks on our community to go unchallenged.  We believe in upholding the rule of law and constitutional and religious freedom for all people in America, but these ideals cannot be realized when public officials use their offices and their influence to openly attack and denigrate Muslims, or to suggest that we are collectively guilty for acts of violence that we have nothing to do with.  Every national or religious group in America that has experienced racism and prejudice has organized vigorous responses to institutionalized bias, and as Muslims, we must do the same.”

If you would like to assist MAS Freedom in its national initiative to protect religious freedom, please contact us at info@masfreedom.org or call us at 1 (888) 627 8471.

December 21, 2010

Is McCarthyism Being Revived by Representative Peter King?

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 4:28 pm

Introduction

US representative Peter King may have been better suited for a hearing in a 16th century Salem of Massachusetts court room than in a US Congressional Hearing room. Check out the piece below.

Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the Day: “Have you no shame Mr. King? Have you no shame?”

Is McCarthyism Being Revived by Representative Peter King?

MAS Freedom conducts Activism workshop on Islamophobia at National Conference

“Are you now, or have you ever been, associated with the religion of Islam?  This is not an absurd question, but one that very well may be directed to individuals who may be subpoenaed to testify before a future hearing called by Representative Peter King (R-NY) before the Department of Homeland Security. 

The issue that Representative King would like to investigate is what he believes to be the growth of Islamic radicalism in America, and presumably, the failure of national Muslim leaders and organizations to address it.  Mr. King expressed his views in a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal.  Presumably, some of his Republican House colleagues, including ones who have been at the forefront of public anti-Muslim rhetoric, will join him in his interrogations.

But for many people, these hearings bring up memories of a tragic episode in the America of the 1950s American history when Right-wing zealots, led by then-Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, dragged people before a House Committee on Un-American Activities. These hearings targeted numerous Americans, who had committed no crimes against their government of fellow citizens, and accused them of being pro-Communist dupes of the Soviet Union.  This crusade against Left activists, intellectuals, and notable persons in the entertainment industry resulted in the destruction of reputations, livelihoods, and even actual lives. 

It may be that Rep. King, who has expressed no fear at being characterized as an anti-Muslim bigot, wants to do the same thing now to Muslims in America that Joe McCarthy did for suspected Socialists more than 50 years ago.

Conventional wisdom has always suggested that global Islam has replaced global Communism as the primary threat to the U.S. national security establishment, and the actions of hostile networks like Al Qaeda, Al Shabab, and the Taliban in Afghanistan give some substance to this evaluation.  But Representative King’s relentless focus on the “homegrown” threat of what he calls “Islamic radicalism” is an invitation to accelerate the same unjust attacks on Muslim leaders and national organizations that characterized the “Red Scare” antics of “Tail Gunner Joe”. 

And as long as our organizations are viewed with hostility and suspicion, law-abiding Muslims will be unjustly painted with the brush of collective guild for the malfeasance of a small minority of Muslims in America who have actually been involved in illegal or violent activities that actually threaten the security of the people of this nation. 

Rep. King should understand that Muslim leaders and organizations in America have indeed condemned extremism, and in fact two organizations-the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Muslim American Society-have been commended in a 2010 congressional reports for work to counter the attempted radicalization of American Muslim youth.  Moreover, there are many examples of ongoing interfaith dialogue in America and positive Muslim civic engagement with the larger society.
What is likely to emerge from these hearings is not a deeper understanding of “Islamic” radicalism, or even the legitimate exposure of threats to our security, but rather, another round of taxpayer-funded Muslim bashing that whips up even more divisive xenophobia and religious bigotry in the nation.  Perhaps Rep. King should leave the real detective and law enforcement work to the professionals at DHS.
MAS Freedom will address issues related to the Muslim community response to Islamophobia and unprincipled attacks on our collective civil rights at in a workshop on “Muslim Activism 101”, to be held at the upcoming MAS-ICNA conference in Chicago, IL from December 23rd to December 26th, 2010.  We encourage members of our community to join us in learning more about how we can collectively respond to these threats against Muslims in America while building more positive civic engagement.

For more information, contact us at info@masfreedom.org or 1-888-625-8471, or visit the MAS ICNA 9th annual convention website.
-Ibrahim Ramey

December 16, 2010

North Carolina Muslims want to speak to Congresswoman-Elect Ellmers

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 12:42 pm

Renee Ellmers didn’t mean it? Whether the tea party North Carolina congresswoman elect Renee Ellmers meant it or not, Muslims should never succumb to accepting hot political rhetoric that is both factually inaccurate and Islamophobic in nature. There is an old axiom that says, “there are no permanent allies or enemies, but rather common interests that forge political relations.” It is in that spirit that I encourage Muslims to look at the politically experienced and sophisticated young Muslim activists who understand the true dynamics of American politics. They reject the Muslim old-school opportunistic, bootlicking, photo-opt political behavior of the past.

If the soon to be congresswoman moves away from her Islamophobic stance, then by all means, Muslims should seek constructive engagement. But if she insists upon elevating her political stature by bashing Muslims then they must respond with political integrity. How do Muslims do that? Simple, stop posturing and get to work registering individuals, establishing a district-wide voters database, strengthening and building new political coalitions, educate your base, and build an aggressive Get out the vote machine. Two years from now, if the gentlelady from North Carolina’s 2nd district has not mended her ways, then on Election Day, take your souls to the polls and send her packing. Now that’s real politics. Check out the piece below.

-Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the Day: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Muslims want to speak to Ellmers

The election of tea party favorite Renee Ellmers to Congress in November was a loss for Democrats and incumbent Bob Etheridge. But some area Muslims say it’s more like a sharp blow for them.

The winner of North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District seat offended many Muslims with a TV campaign ad that claimed that a planned Muslim community center near ground zero in New York City was a “victory mosque,” possibly funded by terrorists.

Dismayed by the ad, individuals and groups within the Triangle’s Muslim community say they are interested in pursuing a truce with Ellmers. They have been trying to reach out to her since the ad first aired in late September.

I’ve called her office three times,” said Khalilah Sabra, executive director of the state chapter of the Muslim American Society’s immigrant justice project. “We’d like to know where she stands and what her intentions are with regard to the Muslim community.”

Ellmers has not responded so far. She also did not return phone calls and e-mail requests for an interview for this story.

“Unfortunately, she is currently busy with the transition and is not available for an interview at this time,” wrote Lorie Byrd, an Ellmers’ staffer.

But Muslims have not given up. They hope that once Ellmers, who is Roman Catholic, meets them she might change her mind about the growing Muslim community in her district, which includes Henderson, Fayetteville, Siler City and Southeast Raleigh.

There are no reliable figures on the number of Muslims in the Triangle, and the U.S. Census is prohibited by law from asking about religious affiliation. But the number of mosques in the region has multiplied A new mosque this year in Selma is Johnston County’s first.

Ellmers, a political newcomer, defeated Etheridge, who held the seat for 14 years. Etheridge enjoyed a good working relationship with Muslims.

Leaning left

Polling data show that Muslims vote Democratic. A poll for the American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections, for instance, showed that 89 percent of the more than 600 Muslim voters polled in 2008 had voted for Barack Obama, compared to 2 percent for John McCain.

Still, many Muslims hold conservative views on some issues and would find several areas of agreement with Ellmers. Muslims are often socially conservative on the death penalty, abortion and traditional marriage. And they view with alarm sexual promiscuity on TV, the Internet and in the movies.

“As Muslims, we have a lot of values we share with Republicans,” said Jihad Shawwa, a Raleigh Muslim activist who has written to Ellmers.

But Muslims also have become increasingly concerned about civil rights violations, visa and immigration delays, workplace discrimination, oral and physical harassment, surveillance by law enforcement and targeted airport security screenings.

For these reasons, elected officials are important to Muslims, who may need to rely on them if they get in trouble with the law.

“What if a Muslim needed her help?” Shawwa said, adding that he hoped that person would be treated with civility. “After all, we’re citizens. We should be treated with dignity.”

In invitation to dine

Members of the Muslim American Public Affairs Council, a Raleigh group that has successfully reached out to other members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation, said Ellmers will be invited to the group’s yearly dinner March 19. In years past, congressmen Brad Miller and David Price have attended, as have state lawmakers, mayors and law enforcement officers.

Mohammad Elgamal, chairman of the group’s executive committee, said he wrote Ellmers shortly after the mosque TV ad aired. He never heard back. But he’s not yet discouraged.

“I know people say things in the campaign, but they don’t mean it,” Elgamal said. “Personally, I’m willing to work with her.”

Staff Writer, newsobserver.com
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