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Meditations on Last Month's Short-Lived Prison Pork Ban

by Johanna Markind  •  Thu, 5 Nov 2015, 5:11 PM

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US Prisons, October 2015:

Finally, the government has decided to eliminate pork — from the menu in federal prisons... The Bureau of Prisons, which is responsible for running 122 federal penitentiaries and feeding their inmates three meals a day, said the decision was based on a survey of prisoners' food preferences: They just don't like the taste of pork.

Another take:

A woman whose son is in federal prison in Fort Worth says he has complained about the lack of pork, saying he had heard it was because of complaints from Muslim inmates.

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UK Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes: A Category of Their Own

by Johanna Markind  •  Sat, 17 Oct 2015, 9:12 PM

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British Prime Minister David Cameron has honored a campaign promise by requiring police nationwide to record anti-Muslim hate crimes. Current records are spotty. Some police forces, including London's Scotland Yard, do record anti-Muslim crimes, but others do not.

Explaining the move, the government said:

creating a separate category across the board would "enable police, prosecutors, councils and the communities they serve to have a better understanding of the prevalence of anti-Muslim hate crime and allocate resources accordingly."

If the national statistics are consistent with those of London, they will likely show that anti-Muslim hate crimes spike after Islamist violence like the murder of Lee Rigby, but that even so, the rate of anti-Muslim crime is far lower than that against another religious group, namely, Jews. During the twelve-month period ending June 30, 2015, there were 816 anti-Muslim crimes, or one hate-crime incident for every 1,241 Muslims, and 499 anti-Jewish hate crimes, one for every 299 Jews in London.

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Carson on Muslims and Islam(ism)

by Johanna Markind  •  Fri, 2 Oct 2015, 8:24 AM

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Presidential candidate Ben Carson

Carson's Comments

On September 20, while appearing on NBC's Meet the Press program, presidential candidate Ben Carson told interviewer Chuck Todd that he did not believe Islam to be consistent with the U.S. Constitution and would not advocate electing a Muslim as president.

The next day, he doubled down, saying he did not "believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country. Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that's inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution."

A day later, Tuesday, Carson tried to calm the waters, stating that the issue was only theoretical. He also said he could support someone with a Muslim background who is "willing to reject the tenets [of Islam] and accept the way of life that we have and clearly will swear to place the Constitution above their religion."

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Scotland Yard: Hate Crime Equals Anti-Muslim Crime

by Johanna Markind  •  Tue, 8 Sep 2015, 3:34 PM

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Yesterday, London's Metropolitan Police (a/k/a Scotland Yard) released hate crime figures for the year that ended June 30, 2015. During that period, there were 816 anti-Muslim crimes, up 71% from the 478 crimes the year before. There were 499 anti-Jewish hate crimes, up 93% from the 258 crimes the year before. In all, London police reported 13,007 hate crimes motivated by race and/or religion; they were not broken down except for crimes targeting Muslims and Jews.

Westminster was reportedly the borough with the highest number of anti-Muslim incidents during this time period, with 54. Hackney and Barnet were reportedly the boroughs with the highest number of anti-Jewish incidents, with 122 and 120, respectively. About 60% of the anti-Muslim hate crimes targeted women. Details about the anti-Jewish crimes were a bit more difficult to come by.

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Halal School Lunches: Back-to-School Special

by Johanna Markind  •  Mon, 31 Aug 2015, 8:55 AM

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In an article published by PJ Media and republished today by Islamist Watch, Johanna Markind examines the phenomenon of taxpayer-supported halal lunches in American public schools. Here are a couple of thought questions to consider: (1) Does it violate the U.S. Constitution's Establishment and/or Equal Protection Clauses for the government to provide lunches meeting the dietary requirements of one religion but not others? (2) Would it violate the Establishment Clause if the government were to provide public school lunches meeting the dietary requirements of all religions?

There will be a test later.


Islam in Prison

by Johanna Markind  •  Sun, 30 Aug 2015, 3:50 PM

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The current issue of the New Yorker reports that, according to Paris-based Iranian sociologist Farhad Khosrokhavar, "of France's 64,000 prisoners, up to 60% are Muslim. (Muslims are thought to compose only 8% of the population.)"

Based on data from 2011, Pew Research Center estimated that Muslims made up 9% of the 1,598,780 state and federal prisoners in the United States. Pew also reported that as of 2010, about 0.8% of the U.S. population was Muslim, up from 0.6% in 1990. Data allegedly provided by the federal Bureau of Prisons reported that, as of 1997, Muslims made up 7.27% of the federal prison population.

In other words, Muslims are overrepresented in the French prison population by 7.5 times their percentage of the population. In the United States, although their overall percentage is smaller, Muslims are overrepresented in the prison population by 11.25 times their percentage of the population.

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CAIR Fixes its Chapter Links

by Johanna Markind  •  Fri, 7 Aug 2015, 2:10 PM

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Islamist Watch previously updated its story about CAIR's missing chapters to report that CAIR had incorporated a new Massachusetts chapter.

CAIR has taken other remedial action as well. It now has a working hyperlink to a website for CAIR New Jersey; that account was previously listed as "suspended." It has updated its chapter list to include a hyperlink to a website that was not previously listed for the Georgia chapter. The Kentucky chapter still has no website; the chapter remains listed, although the corporation was previously dissolved and its IRS tax exempt status revoked for failure to file tax returns for more then three years. It also lists the new Massachusetts chapter and its new website on the chapter list, which now includes its Washington, DC, office plus 28 chapters, for a total of 29. Furthermore, it identifies a representative from each location.


Another Muslim Brotherhood-Tied Group Tries to Divert Attention From Islamist Violence

by Johanna Markind  •  Mon, 3 Aug 2015, 3:39 PM

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WNYMuslims founder Faizan Haq

Here is a small illustration of an Islamist organization trying to change the subject away from radical Islam and its responsibility for terrorism to the trope of Muslims-as-victims.

Following last week's arrest of Arafat Nagi, the executive director of a group called Western New York Muslims (WNYMuslims) gave an interview to a local (Buffalo) news program. WNYMuslims appears to be tied to Muslim Brotherhood adherents and organizations. Its founder, Faizan Haq, is a member of the Safa Group, a/k/a the SAAR Foundation, an organization with Muslim Brotherhood ties that is suspected of fundraising and/or money laundering for terrorist groups. Haq is or was a board member of Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood front that was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing case and has admitted having ties to the Hamas terror organization. As WNYMuslims noted on its website, Haq spoke at the 2013 convention of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), another Muslim Brotherhood organization, that has been probed by the FBI for ties to terrorism. WNYMuslims also participates in ICNA social events.

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UK Hate Crimes Against Jews and Muslims

by Johanna Markind  •  Fri, 31 Jul 2015, 2:08 PM

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Yesterday, the Community Security Trust (a British Jewish organization akin to the US's Anti-Defamation League) released its semi-annual report detailing anti-Semitic incidents for the first half of 2015. It "shows a 53% increase in antisemitic incidents compared to the same period last year." This continues the sharp increase shown by its report for 2014. Police figures confirm the increase. (As for who is committing anti-Semitic acts, see here and here.)

In an article republished today by Islamist Watch (an earlier version was previously published by Breitbart), Johanna Markind examines the problem of hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in the United Kingdom. There have been many anecdotal claims – including claims by the British government – of a rise in hate crimes against Muslims. Such claims are often raised after violence perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam in order to change the conversation by portraying Muslims as victims rather than perpetrators. Police records show a sharp increase in the number of crimes against Jews; police records only inconsistently report on hate crimes against Muslims. The available records suggest that proportionally, Jews are far more likely than Muslims to be on the receiving end of hate crimes. The article concludes by suggesting the British government improve its record-keeping for crimes targeting Muslims and Jews, and combat them with resources appropriate to the scale of the problem.


Halal or Not Halal?

by Johanna Markind  •  Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 4:24 PM

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Bill Aossey (center right), accompanied by sons Jalel (left) and Yahya (right), receives a certificate of recognition for 40 years of business in Iowa from Fred Schuster, Regional Director for Senator Chuck Grassley, in 2014.

On July 21, 2015, the federal government filed a response in opposition to defendants' Establishment and Free Exercise Clause challenge to its criminal prosecution in the Northern District of Iowa case, United States v. Aossey, et al. For background, see the defendants' memorandum in support of their motion and IW's prior article on the subject.

The government argues that the case will not excessively involve it in religion, because it "takes no position as to what constitutes a proper 'Halal' slaughter." It explains, "The case will not place in issue whether those standards are proper under Islamic law, only whether defendants knowingly sold products that did not comport with represented standards [i.e., standards represented by defendants]" about the method of slaughter.

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