Ferguson: The End of the Myth of a Post-Racial Society

Ferguson – only the first of many signs of the police militarization and tone deafness of a “post-racial society”. More »

USA vs. Rasmea Odeh: Judge Reverses Prejudicial Bail Ruling

Before the Judge would not admit Odehs close ties to the community. Why now does he recognize the “Defendant’s dedication to her community work and the people that such work assists?” More »

Big Data or Big Brother? Census Bureau might count Arabs

The Census Bureau is considering the addition of Arab-Americans to their data collection. What are the positive and negative consequences of gathering such information? More »

A Muslim-American Take on “Serial”

Serial has taken the podcast world by storm, but how does this tale of mystery about a teenage Muslim-American sound different to a Muslim-American compared to other listeners? More »

 

Framing Islam

Julian Burnside, Australian Lawyer and Human Rights Activist

By Renner Larson

Reporters hungered to cover Monday’s gripping standoff and continued to feast after the situation ended and #illridewith you became the talk of the town, but whether about the horror of a terrorist or the compassion of those who stood by innocent Muslims, these stories illustrate a dangerous flaw in how we define objectivity. The meaning of a picture is changed drastically by how you frame it.

Ferguson: The End of the Myth of a Post-Racial Society

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By Erik Allgood

The most interesting article is sometimes the one you don’t write for one reason or another. This has been a problem for me since the first time I wrote an article critical of established authority. The school pool had burned down (don’t ask), and I was then Editor-in-Chief of our school newspaper. The girls’ swim team had been forced to wake up an extra hour early to take a bus halfway across town and back to get their morning swim. By most accounts, the administration was sitting on their hands instead of getting the repairs done in a timely manner. Something that wouldn’t have happened if, say, someone had used grass killer to write F*** (school name) across the football field, which happened and was fixed within the week. One of the upperclasswomen on the girls’ swim team had written a vitriolic, but substantial, list of questions aimed at the administration. We had every intention of publishing it, until I was called into the principal’s office and told that in no uncertain terms that it would not be published because of the “unfair scrutiny” it would put on the school. Even before the high school diplomas are handed out, we learn that power has a way of protecting itself through intimidation, coercion, and control of the narratives of powerless people, which is important when considering Darren Wilson, the power he represents, and the protection he received from St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch. Seven years have passed since the pool burnt down. Now I get to watch the myth of a post-racial society burn down from my southern perch in the Mississippi Delta (while educating children in a fourth grade classroom and attending graduate school).

USA vs. Rasmea Odeh: Judge Reverses Prejudicial Bail Ruling

Photo by Bill Chambers

By Bill Chambers

On November 10 with the courtroom packed with Rasmea Odeh’s supporters from Chicago, U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain revoked Odeh’s bail and sent her to jail until sentencing on March 10th.

“Odeh doesn’t have ties to the Chicago community. She has apparently done good work at the Arab American Action Network, but that work is not a substantial tie to the community. She could do this in another country.”

With this blatant ignoring of the facts, Judge Drain agreed with the government that Odeh was a flight risk and deserved to be incarcerated in a remote County jail for four months. Yesterday, the same Judge Drain ruled in favor of a defense motion to release Odeh on $50,000 bond.

“Defendant’s dedication to her community work and the people that such work assists, as well as the presence of relatives in Chicago, demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that she is not as significant a flight risk as originally believed.”

Before the Judge would neither admit evidence of Odeh’s close ties to the community nor see with his own eyes that community inside courtroom at every hearing. Why the change?

A Muslim-American Take on “Serial”

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By Lena Shareef

“Have you heard of this podcast called Serial?”

When three different people (with absolutely no connection to each other) asked me this question in the span of 48 hours, I figured it was time to give Serial a shot.

Big Data or Big Brother? Census Bureau might count Arabs

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By Nasir Almasri

As I completed my applications for graduate school this week, I filled in the information and navigated the tedious process. Perhaps the most perplexing question on all six of my applications was my race. When people ask, I identify myself as an Arab-American; but these new-fangled online applications are not so simple. I am not white or Caucasian, although that is the answer they seek in my case. I am not Asian, according to their definitions. I do not usually have the opportunity to select “other” and enter my information.

The Religion of Thanksgiving

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By Remal Hindi

When people think of Thanksgiving, they think of how much food they will eat, the outfits they’ll wear, football, and of course, Black Friday. Despite its more superficial modern associations, the essence of Thanksgiving is universal, and has spiritual significance that reflects values of people from all faiths.

The Loss of One of Our Own – A Tale of Two Brothers

By Walid Sankari

The world was repulsed yet unsurprised as the so-called Islamic State beheaded another western hostage on camera. A video released by ISIS on November 16th titled “Although the Disbelievers Dislike It” depicted the death of American Peter “Abdul Rahman” Kassig, purportedly in retaliation for American military intervention in Iraq and Syria.

USA vs. Rasmea Odeh: Verdict Devalues Lives of Arab and Muslim Women

Photo by Bill Chambers

By Bill Chambers

“Odeh doesn’t have ties to the Chicago community. She has apparently done good work at the Arab American Action Network, but that work is not a substantial tie to the community. She could do this in another country.” With those words, U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain wiped away Rasmea Odeh’s 20 years of work in Chicago being an advocate for Arab and Muslim women’s rights. The twenty Arab and Muslim women sitting in the front rows who had come to court as representatives of Odeh’s 600 member women’s group were erased as if they did not exist. This statement was only one of many that demonstrated Judge Drain’s disdain for Odeh’s position as a well-loved Palestinian community leader and organizer in Chicago.

$4 Billion was spent on Election 2014! How much is that anyway?

By Renner Larson

In campaigning for today’s election nearly $4 billion dollars has been spent on the 2014 mid-term elections. That’s more than any other midterm in history, but how much is 4 billion anyway? Such big numbers are hard to visualize out of context. Well here is a bit of perspective…

“All Men Are Created Equal” But Are NOT Treated As Equal

By Remal Hindi

Living in normalcy exists, but not for everyone. Unfortunately many African Americans struggle living their everyday life due to racism that still exists in this country. The unjustified shootings of Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and other young black men who are not always written about in the media, depict a twisted side of policing and the justice system that was always noticed but is increasingly being questioned. How can we question a system that swears to serve and protect? How does a nation learn to move forward when the foundation of racial profiling is not being addressed?