Penjihad's Blog

"To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable"

Letter to the President

April 4, 2011

President Barack Hussein Obama

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

We the undersigned represent a cross-section of faith communities, particularly in the Northwest (Puget Sound) area. Among the signatories are leaders from Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths, representing a large number of organizations in the region.

We are taking this unusual step of jointly writing to you in hope that our letter will move you to take some affirmative action to stop one aspect of a growing problem of increasing persecution and harassment of Muslims in the United States. As you may know, Muslims are being targeted by our different agencies and it is only getting worse, so much so that Senator Dick Durbin is chairing a hearing on the threats to the civil rights of Muslims in America and Representative John Conyers has called for a probe on border harassment of Muslims returning to the US.

 Mr. President, Muslims have been arbitrarily removed from airline flights, simply because some non-Muslim passenger or a crew-member said s-he was “uncomfortable” with the presence of the Muslim passenger. In some cases, the complaining passengers have imagined that some word spoken or misheard, was suggestive of imminent violent crime by the Muslim “suspect” and that presumption has been sufficient to have the Muslim passenger escorted off the flight by law-enforcement agents, sometimes, in handcuffs. It is useful to note that to date, none of the “suspect” Muslim passengers have been found to be associated with any threats at all and all have been allowed to proceed on subsequent flights.

Mr. President, we are not asking for any preferential treatment for Muslims, but we are asking that abuse of Muslims be treated with the same seriousness with which we treat abuse of other minorities, such as African Americans, Jews and Latinos. The arbitrary removal of Muslim passengers from an airline flight, should draw the same reaction as the removal of a Black passenger because some passenger is “uncomfortable” with the presence of a Black man. The level of harassment has risen to such a point that even people who are not Muslim, but “looks like a Muslim”…or someone who looks like a Middle-Easterner or, a South- or Central Asian…is mistreated as if they were Muslim.

Mr. President, we ask that you instruct the Secretary of Transportation to write to all airlines that operate in the US, informing them that arbitrary mistreatment or discrimination of Muslims will be treated with the same severity as if they were targeting someone for their race or religion. Unless you take the lead and take action, Muslims will continue to be abused in the name of “Security”, and nobody will have the courage to stop the growing abuse of Muslims and those who “look like” Muslims.

We thank you for your consideration and look forward to prompt action on your part on at least, this one aspect of discrimination and persecution of Muslims in America.

Sincerely, 

Jafar H. Siddiqui, American Muslims of Puget Sound

Mr. John Berg, Director of Program Advancement, Middle East Peace Builders

Maulana Syed Abbas Ayelya, Zainab Center, Lynnwood

Cantor David Serkin-Poole, Temple B’nai Torah

Rev. E. Michael Jackson, Assisting Priest, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle

Randolph W. Urmston, Member, St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle

W. Sullivan McDonald, Episcopal Bishop’s Committee

Brenda Bentz co-chair Mid East Focus Ministry, Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral

Sabeel Puget Sound (Christian)

Sima Kahn, Kadima Puget Sound

Kord Roosen-Runge, Interfaith Community Church Seattle

Dr. Harold Vogelaar Prof. Emeritus, Muslim-Christian Studies and Interfaith Dialogue at LSTC

Dr. Wendy Elisheva Somerson, Jewish Voice for Peace-Seattle
Jeremy Mseitif, Islamic Center of Bothell

Mohamed El-Sharkawi, Professor, University of Washington

Tess Abidi, Pakistan Assn. of Greater Portland

M. Owais Jafrey, Chair, Interfaith Committee, Muslim Assn. of NW

Phil Ginsberg, Attorney

Abdul Aleem and Leslie Ahmed

Judith Kolokoff, Jewish Voice for Peace

Mohammed Mansour, SDE Amazon.com

Wael Bahaa-El-Din, Retd. Fellow & V-P, Microsoft
Rev. Andrew Larsen, Evangelical Covenant Church

Amb. (ret.) Philip C. Wilcox, Jr., President, Foundation for Middle East Peace

Samiha Korshed, American Egyptian Muslim

Rev. Charles Lewis;   Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Snohomish

Esther Nelson (Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land, Central Lutheran, Portland, OR and Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights)

John M. Reinke, Redmond, Washington

Rev. F. David Teeter, Tacoma, Washington

Janice L Miller, Denver, Colorado

Bryan Saario DDS MD

Rev. Bill Anderson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Pastor (retd), Board member, Lutheran Peace Fellowship

Art Siegal, Regional Chair, emeritus; Commission on Social Action, Union for Reform Judaism

Tim Hill, Chair of the Episcopal Bishop’s Committee for Israel/Palestine

Abdullah Polovina, Imam of the mosque and Islamic center in Shoreline

Ahmed Elbortoukaly. CEO at Seattle Search Marketing

Prof. Amal Mahmoud, Highline Community College, Des Moines, Washington

Rev. Carol Jensen, St. John United Lutheran

Farida Hakim

Glen Gersmehl, National Coordinator, Lutheran Peace Fellowship, Dir. Peace & Justice Resource Center

Linda Frank on behalf of the Northwest Middle East Peace Forum, Pierce County

The Rev. John-Otto Liljenstolpe, The Rauschenbusch Center for Spirit and Action

Nathan Rich, President, Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace

Imam Husam Rabi, Renton Cultural Center

Barbara Rofkar, Voices for Middle East Peace, Bellingham

Rizwan Samad, Director, MPower USA, Seattle

Mary Pneuman

Dr. Ann El-Moslimany, Islamic School of Seattle

Dr. Ibrahim Soudy, P.E, S.E., P. Eng.

Lorraine Pozzi

Bill Aston

Claude A. Soudah

Steve Sawmelle, Coordinator, D.C. Interfaith Peace Initiative, Potomac, MD

Thalia Syracopoulos, Women in Black, Seattle

James Ehrman, Silver Spring, MD

Sherry K. Garman, Episcopal Bishop’s Committee on Israel/Palestine, Olympia

Pastor Wayne Smith, Praise Covenant Church, Tacoma

Michael R. Trice PhD. Ecumenical & Inter-religious Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

April 9, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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