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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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"Reclaim Australia" Demonstrations and Counter-Demonstrations

by Johanna Markind  •  Mon, 20 Jul 2015, 10:28 PM

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Rally in Sydney

Last weekend witnessed several rallies sponsored by the group Reclaim Australia, and counter-demonstrations by opponents who contend the organization's supporters are racists. Reclaim Australia claims to be a non-racist group advocating "equality and tolerance of all races and religions," and opposing what it sees as the growing influence of Islam and cultural relativism threatening traditional values like free speech, gender equality, and religious equality. Counter-demonstrators condemn it as supportive of racism, fascism, and Islamophobia.

Rallies were held in several cities throughout Australia. Numbers of participants were surprisingly difficult to obtain. Estimates include the following:

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Federal Prosecution for Mislabeling Meat as Halal & Other Matters

by Johanna Markind  •  Fri, 17 Jul 2015, 10:06 AM

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In an article published by American Thinker and republished today by Islamist Watch, Johanna Markind examines a federal criminal prosecution against Islamic Services of America, Inc., Midamar Corporation, and Jalel and Yahya Aossey, which seems based partly on claims the defendants filed false paperwork and partly on claims that meat labeled as halal was actually non-halal. Is the latter a federal crime?

There's a further twist to the story, separate from the article.  On May 12, 2015, federal agents executed a search warrant at Midamar, seizing documents and downloading e-mails in connection with a gun-running scheme.  Meat, it seems, is not the only thing Midamar was exporting.  It is unclear whether the Aosseys and Midamar will be charged with smuggling guns.  To date they have not been.  Midamar's lawyer claims the allegations concern shipping-container space the company provided as part of a company-sponsored clothing drive for Syria and Lebanon.  Even odder, while it's unclear where the guns were headed, the gun smuggler had ties to the Shi'ite group Hezbollah, whereas the Aossey family who run Midamar have ties to Sunni Muslim Brotherhood groups.

 

Are Parts of Michigan Governed by Shari'a Law?

by Johanna Markind  •  Thu, 9 Jul 2015, 7:22 PM

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In the city of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, public schools began serving halal lunches in 2013.

Public schools in the nearby city of Dearborn, Michigan, began serving halal lunches even earlier – in 2001, to be exact. Dearborn has also arrested Christian missionaries for proselytizing Muslims. (A federal appeals court originally affirmed a lower court decision finding the police actions permissible, then decided to rehear the case; its decision is pending.)

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Look Who's Back! The Return of CAIR Massachusetts

by Johanna Markind  •  Tue, 7 Jul 2015, 11:51 AM

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Last week, the Boston Globe ran a story about the emergence of a younger generation of leadership within the local Muslim community. "The younger leaders grew up in America, unlike many of their predecessors, and appear more willing to raise concerns about counterterrorism efforts targeting their community amid the rise of Islamic extremism and its global online recruitment efforts." A cynic might say they are more focused on demanding their rights than in cooperating against radical Islam.  The story continues:

Underscoring that conviction, younger Muslims established two new civil rights organizations in Boston in the last year alone: the Muslim Justice League and a revived Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national advocacy group.

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The Supreme Court and Marriage Equality: Is Polygamy Next?

by Johanna Markind  •  Mon, 6 Jul 2015, 8:57 PM

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There has been some discussion (e.g., here and here) about whether the Supreme Court's June 26 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing gay marriage portends the future legalization of polygamy in the United States.

The majority opinion, by Justice Anthony Kennedy, does not mention polygamy and its language appears to favor monogamy. It cites four principles: the right to marry as supporting "a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals," personal choice in marriage as an aspect of liberty, marriage as a safeguard for children and families, and marriage as a keystone of our social order. It concludes that both Due Process and Equal Protection require extending the same marriage dignity to homosexual as to heterosexual couples.

In dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts frets that the majority's rationale could apply equally well to polygamous unions. He writes:

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When Did Carmen Ortiz Become an Islamic Religious Authority?

by Johanna Markind  •  Thu, 25 Jun 2015, 9:25 AM

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Carmen M. Ortiz, US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts

After Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced yesterday, Massachusetts US Attorney Carmen Ortiz gave a press conference at which she hastened to assure us that his crime was "A crime of terrorism, a crime not religiously-motivated... And he couched his comments in line with Allah and Allah's views, which gives it a religious tone and there was nothing – as you heard Judge O'Toole say in the courtroom – there was nothing about this crime that was Islam-associated." Apparently the press wasn't buying it, because in response to an inaudible reporter's question, Ortiz doubled down: "That is a skewed view of the religion of Islam. That is not what Islam is all about... It's a radical ideology which really isn't at the heart of what is truly a peaceful and loving religion."

This is not a new theme for Ortiz, who offered similar views on May 15 following the jury's decision to impose the death penalty. "The defendant claimed to be acting on behalf of all Muslims. This was not a religious crime," she insisted, "and it certainly does not reflect true Muslim beliefs."

We have received similar assurances from others in the current administration, including President Obama, and from President Bush before him. It appears to reflect a desire not to smear all Muslims with the deeds of a few, and that impulse is commendable.

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How Much Popular Support Does CAIR Have Among American Muslims?

by Johanna Markind  •  Wed, 17 Jun 2015, 5:06 PM

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In an article published by PJ Media and republished today by Islamist Watch, Johanna Markind explores how CAIR's efforts to "Ferguson"-ize the Usaama Rahim shooting only begged the question of where its local representatives were.  Although CAIR feigned otherwise, there is no local CAIR chapter in Massachusetts, and possibly never was.  In fact, CAIR seems to have lost four or five other chapters since 2007.  It has also lost membership support since 9/11.  The national organization is almost entirely dependent on large donations from unknown sources.

 

Islamist Watch Now Active on Social Media

by Marc J. Fink  •  Wed, 17 Jun 2015, 2:01 PM

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News from Islamist Watch

PHILADELPHIA – June 17, 2015 – Islamist Watch (IW), which protects the West from lawful Islamism, has launched Facebook and Twitter pages, bringing its message to new audiences.

Readers are encouraged to "like" IW's Facebook page and "follow" IW's Twitter page to efficiently keep track of the project's activities. The information here complements what is sent out by e-mail.

IW's social media provides readers with news, rapid analyses, and updates on its activities. In addition, by liking and following, readers join a community of citizens opposed to Islamic supremacist efforts to exploit Western freedoms to undermine from within.

Islamist Watch on Facebook (left) and Twitter (right) provide readers with a convenient way to follow its news, analysis, and activism.

For immediate release

For more information, contact:

Marc Fink

Fink@MEForum.org

 

NY Times on Protecting the "Image" of Islam

by Johanna Markind  •  Tue, 16 Jun 2015, 11:39 AM

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Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center

Today's New York Times print edition carries an article entitled, "Muslims Work to Shed Stigma Tied to Terror." The article can't quite decide what story it's trying to tell: Muslims as victims, external criticism of the community (which it tries to minimize), or Muslim self-criticism. The lack of focus and efforts to gloss over signs of extremism within the Boston Muslim community, even among those calling themselves moderate, result in an article more propaganda than journalism.

It begins with the executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) complaining that after terrorist incidents, the mosque is victimized by phone calls asking what connection it has to the perpetrator. This is a classic tactic of trying to change the subject from Muslims as perpetrators to Muslims as victims in the immediate aftermath of Islamist violence that has appeared very frequently in the media.

It mentions that Boston is one of three locations selected by the Obama Administration for a pilot program in countering Islamist radicalization and recruitment, given the anodyne name "Countering Violent Extremism." Why those three, and in particular, why is Boston one of them? The article, about the Boston Muslim community, does not ask the question directly.

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