Arab-American Association honors service at gala

The Brooklyn Paper
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Salaamu alaikum!

A Bay Ridge Arab activist group celebrated its 12th anniversary last Thursday with a bash honoring neighborhood leaders and a prominent civil-rights attorney.

The Arab-American Association of New York held its annual gala at Widdi Catering Hall on Sixth Avenue in Sunset Park, and fêted honorees were recognized for their work for and with Brooklyn’s growing Arab community, according to executive director Linda Sarsour.

“Every year we think about people who have served our community in some way,” Sarsour said.

The Fifth Avenue-based Association — known for its organizing around immigrant issues — handed out community service awards to Bay Ridge Medical Imaging founder Dr. Shahrock Abiri, Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, businessman Mohmoud Widdi, and lawyer Paul Chevigny.

Chevigny was the leader of the legal team that won the 1971 court case establishing the Handschu guidelines — rules prohibiting the police department from spying on political organizations. Forty-two years later, Chevigny again sued the NYPD for its surveillance of Muslim-linked groups — including the Arab-American Association, where internal documents indicate the police attempted to plant a informant on the board of directors.

The long-time civil-rights attorney condemned the police spying, but said he was glad it gave him a chance to forge bonds with New York’s Middle Eastern community.

“We think it’s a great misfortune this surveillance has been brought down upon the Muslim community by the New York Police Department, but for us it has been a wonderful opportunity,” Chevigny said.

The Association recognized Dr. Abiri for the free services his clinic offers, Beckmann for her work coordinating Community Board 10 with the Arab community, and Widdi — owner of the catering hall that bears his name — for his philanthropy.

All of the honorees expressed gratitude toward the Arab-American Association for the distinction.

“I am truly humbled by this honor,” said Beckmann, vowing that CB10 would continue to work alongside the Association to serve the community.

The award winners also praised the Association for its own services, offering free English classes and other vital services to the growing Arab community, and for pursuing immigration reform.

“I urge everyone to continue to support the Association to allow us to continue to climb the ladder of success and empowerment,” said Widdi.

The gala also functioned as a fund-raiser, with ticket sales and donations from the evening topping $65,000. The funds will allow the Association to continue assisting recent arrivals from overseas, to pursue its activism, and to work toward the goal of acquiring its own building to serve as the group’s center.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him
Updated 10:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Barbie from Fashion Street says:
I love how she's matched her lipstick and head veil. Tres chic!
Nov. 11, 2013, 4:47 am
Stahl from Bano says:
With Mike '10 seconds to love' Grimm in attendance, it's likely the bathroom was occupado for a looooong time..
Nov. 11, 2013, 7:33 am
American from America says:
“We think it’s a great misfortune this surveillance has been brought down upon the Muslim community by the New York Police Department"
Really?Give me a break. I think its a great misfortune that nobody in the Arab community sees the need to help stop those that supposedly hijaked their religion.
How is it that they know how to protest supposed unwarrented surveilance but nobody in that community ever protests terrorism and how it hurts them?What do they do to help stop terror?
Does this group have a Veteerans Day parade,dinner,lunch?
Go away PLEASE
Nov. 11, 2013, 10:38 am
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
"American from America": Group director Linda Sarsour also is an American from America.

fyi, very few NYC ethnic groups host their very own individual Veterans Day parades -- which normally are citywide or neighborhood events -- dinners-lunches etc.

Yet every cultural, ethnic or interest group in nyc hosts an annual gala -- even a parade! -- to celebrate itself.
Nov. 11, 2013, 11:43 am
American from America says:
Please tell me what does this group has done to protest against those that have hijacked their religion. Other than maybe taking an add out that says they are against terror.They can help their cause more if they would speak outagainst terror. Why do they speak out against the police doing their jobs instead of settig themselves apart from evil doers? How do we know what may have brought the police to their doors? The police may have some very good reasons which are not our bussiness. Please tell me how do they set themselves apart. How do these people that are very good at protest as we have seen time and time again in places such as Egypt protest terror? Why are the not in the streets screaming about terroist hijacking their religion way they the way they are about other issues?
Nov. 11, 2013, 12:15 pm
American from America says:
As far as groups not having their own parades that is true but they are sponsored by groups. Groups do have dinners. Privately and publically owned companies do offer free meals ,special discounts etc. American soldiers are killed mostly in Islamic ruled countries recently. They are helping to bring these people some freedoms. They are dying there. They are dying not only for political reasons you may or may not agree with but they are dying for causes such as letting girls attend schools without being poisoned or shot as these young girls are in Afghanistan. Maybe these people should be a little more thankful and a little more cooperative to a country that welcomes them even after a number of terror attacks here on our soil. From both world trade center attacks to the fort shooting to the boston marathon and a few more attacks in recent history. There is a reason for police to be watching. Theses groups should do everything in their power to help their country. They should have nothing to hide. They should want to help.y should be volunteering their help.
Nov. 11, 2013, 12:54 pm
joe from bay ridge says:
For crying out loud, why the hell does this group have to do or say anything special about terrorism. Many of them were born here, all of them live, work and raise their children here. They're no different than an Irish organization and I don't hear people asking those groups to denounce the IRA every time they have a function.

And make no mistake about it, Catholics or any other Christian denomination would be equally as outraged if there was evidence that their churches were under surveillance by the government. Curbing civil liberties in the name of security hurts everyone - not just the group that is directly impacted at the moment.
Nov. 11, 2013, 2:16 pm
Beverly says:
@mmhmm - Linda is not from America, she is an immigrant.
Nov. 11, 2013, 3:31 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
American from America says: "Please tell me what does this group has done to protest against those that have hijacked their religion."

You realize that Islam isn't one big lump, it has no "pope," and it includes multiple denominations (Wahhabi, Salafi, Sunni, Shia, subsets and local variants), just as Christianity and Judaism do?

Do you expect Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses, evangelicals and pentecostals to protest any-all Christian extremists, criminals and crazies at every event or opportunity? Should Brooklyn Baptists have to constantly protest hatemongering Kansas Rev Fred Phelps? Should Catholics, Lutherans etc have to "apologize" for some crazy fundamentalist abortion-doc killer, or for the white-supremacist "Christians" who abetted the Okla City bombing?

Did we expect Irish American Catholics and clergy to protest the IRA at every chance, as if they and their churches were inherently suspect?

We don't and didn't, because we made, and make, distinctions -- for *those* people.
Nov. 11, 2013, 3:46 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
"Beverly says:
@mmhmm - Linda is not from America, she is an immigrant."

Linda Sarsour is a Brooklyn-born native New Yorker.
Nov. 11, 2013, 3:52 pm
American from America says:
Let us not deflect by talking about the IRA. The article is about honoring lawyers who keep the police from keeping us safe. My question was........What has the muslim,arabic ,islam community of any sect done to protest,remove,identify the terrorists that are ruining their religion? Other than putting the occasional add in a periodical.A very simple question. So far no answer.
Nov. 11, 2013, 4:31 pm
Eddie R. from Bklyn Hts. says:
I am a Vietnam Era Vet., of Middle Eastern decent. On this day of HONOR for our Veterans, It is disturbing to read the assualts on the Bay Ridge Arab Community. I'm sure over the years much to much American/Arab blood has been spilled defending our country. The acts of a deranged minority of any nationality should not bring attacts on the majority. WE AS AMERICANS ARE BETTER THAN THAT. GOD BLESS AMERICAN.
Nov. 11, 2013, 4:43 pm
American from America says:
Still waiting for an answer to my question. Anyone can come on here and say they are a veteran. That doesn't answer my question either.
Nov. 11, 2013, 8:03 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
You could do your own research and read a lot more widely, alleged A from A -- or perhaps contact the Arab-American Association (which, fyi, encompasses both Muslims and Christians). You haven't done so and won't and you blow off relevant analogies to other groups.

You clearly don't knowbabout the local imam who became one of the NYPD's major partners in anti-terrorism, spoke out vs extremists, served as a community liason ... and was crushed to learn that the NYPD was spying on him and his congregation, treating them as less-than even as they supported the NYPD.

You also claimed that "the article is about honoring lawyers who keep the police from keeping us safe" -- ignoring most of the article, and the doctor, entrepreneur and community leader who were honored ... and you clearly didn't include Muslims among "us."

You are a troll.
Nov. 11, 2013, 9:13 pm
American from America says:
You can't even give the imams name? I asked a question. You reply but you have no answer. Which I guess is the answer. The question was how does the muslim community denounce terror in the name of Islam. You have no answer. They don't. I tire of this. By.
Nov. 11, 2013, 9:27 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
Reda Shata, and your ignorance re: that Brooklyn story is very telling. (But perhaps you're neither "American" nor anywhere near Brooklyn.) See:

And just five minutes' of meh research re Muslims vs. Islamicist terrorists turns up the following -- so imagine if *you'd* been interested enough to spend six or more minutes on it:
Nov. 11, 2013, 10:12 pm
American from America says:
Again with the exception of the camp..just words. You had to search long and hard to find mostly what I didn't ask for. And mostly in muslim owned and muslim sympathizing media who cant e trusted.Preaching to their chior if I may use the term.We shouldnt have to search. We should hear about protests all the time.Just the way you protest other issues all over the world. LIke in Egypt and Pakistan .The point is nothing is done except the occasional article or news blurb.nobody sees. Have a nice life. Thanks for proving my point. Dne here.
Nov. 12, 2013, 6:25 am
American from America says:
One more question then I promise I am gone. Considering most of the victims of terror are muslim why do you disagree with me here?The bombs kill mostly muslim. The girls mistreated are muslim. These are your people. I just dont get it. You should be doing all you could do to help and not putting up roadblocks.You should be saying You know what dude you are right,but you dont. Something does not add up.You have a good one.
Nov. 12, 2013, 6:55 am
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
A from A, brush up on the English language while you're gone. Your problems with it seriously hamper any discussion here.
Nov. 12, 2013, 9:08 am
American from America says:
So again no answer. Just insults. I'll brush up on my language while you go brush up on reality.
Nov. 12, 2013, 10:20 am
joe from bay ridge says:
Am: Why must they comment on terrorism, when there is no evidence that they had anything to do with a terrorist event. Do you feel the need to make a statement every time someone from your religion, ethic group does something wrong? This guilt by association is a fallacy and shouldn't be encouraged.

The story details a local civic group that formed a decade ago and does positive things. They are standing up for civil liberties and that should be applauded.

You still haven't answered the question on the IRA and the Irish. Do you make the same demands with these groups?
Nov. 12, 2013, 10:58 am
Boris from Borough Park says:
If the question is whether the NYPD should conduct surveillance in mosques in NYC the answer has to be yes. The sad fact is that Islam does provide a solid and widely accepted (among Islamic scholars) theological basis for violence against non-believers (which thankfully most Muslims do not use), and that mosques are central to many plots. Just remember that the Bay Ridge Islamic Center played a central role in two different terror plots (that we know of). The first was the execution of an orthodox Jew on the on ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge after a mosque member left a "sermon" preaching hatred of Jews, and the second was the thwarted subway bombing plot of 2 years ago. Sarsour is a professional apologist for Islam, don't mistake her motives. Surveillance of mosques occurs for a very good reason -- Islam and terror attacks are very closely related in today's world, and no amount of wishful thinking will change that fact. We need to protect society as a whole, and if feelings are bruised in the process Sarsour and others will just have to get over that.
Nov. 12, 2013, 11:02 am
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
"American from America says:
So again no answer. Just insults. I'll brush up on my language while you go brush up on res far you ignored 3/4 of the article's content, claimed that denominationalism was irrelevantoored analagous groups, and knew nothing about the experience of a Bay Ridge imam who assisted the NYPD.

You asked why Muslims didn't protest ... but when given cites to anti-terrorist Muslim groups and leaders who've outspokenly damned terrorism, you said these didn't count ... because they were mostly in muslim-owned or sympathetic media. (Who do think would own a Muslim anti-terrorism group's site -- Italian Presbyterians? And do you know how to check sources?)

You claimed I searched "long and hard" to find those cites ... though (as I *stated*) it took all of five minutes, as it would for anyone with basic search skills. Which you don't have or want to use.

By 6:55 am you were calling me a Muslim (where did that come from? or just more busted syntax?)

So you can't-won't read, have no interest in searching, don't know how to fact check; and you want Muslims to explain themselves, but you'll only accept information from non-Muslims (or, apparently, anti-Muslims).
Nov. 12, 2013, 12:24 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
Pardon garble. First grafs should read:

"American from America says:
So again no answer. Just insults. I'll brush up on my language while you go brush up on reality"

Thus far you ignored 3/4 of the article's content, claimed that denominationalism was irrelevant, ignored analagous groups, and knew nothing about the experience of a Bay Ridge imam who assisted the NYPD.
Nov. 12, 2013, 12:27 pm
American from America says:
The IRA has no bearing on what we are speaking about here.There is no comparison to what the IRA did and what Islamic terror has done and still does. I am concerned with here and now and not the past. I am concerned with Islamic terror because that is the threat to this country not a defunct Irish terror organization. I am concerned with those that kill Americans on American soil in the name of their religion.
Again my question is why do we not here at outcry from the arab community with regard to their religion being hijacked. Searching for articles to show me is not an answer. We should not have to search. It should be obvious that this community will not allow terror to taint their religion.IT IS NOT obvious.
Again muslims are the victims of most of this terror so why would you fight me on what I am saying? Why would you not be asking the same question ?Why would you think it is ok to block the police from doing their jobs and saving American lives here. We have been victims of terror in this city too many times to not see the importance of surveillance. If you stand in the way of keeping Americans safe you are no different than the terrorist
Nov. 12, 2013, 12:51 pm
joe from bay ridge says:
Why are these people responsbile for crimes that they did not commit? Did you put out a statement? Do you feel the need to everytime a Christian/Jew/fill in the blanks commits a crime?
Nov. 12, 2013, 1:06 pm
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
@joe - ha! If everyone had to issue statements like that, all of us - of any belief/affinity - would have to give up our day jobs.
Nov. 12, 2013, 1:46 pm
joe from bay ridge says:
Ed: Exactly, hence the reason why the call for this group to put out some sort denunciation on terror when they've done nothing wrong is absurd.
Nov. 12, 2013, 1:50 pm
American from America says:
When there are Christian and Jewish terrorists killing people in America I will ask the same question and I will speak out load and clear. So far that is not an issue and it never will be.
By the way the one eyed sheik also was affiliated with a mosque on McDonald ave and ave. I. He was the brains behind the first WTC bombing.
Nov. 12, 2013, 1:50 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
So -- as one example -- every Christian denomination should have been issuing statements and taking responsibility for the crazed "Army of God"?
Nov. 12, 2013, 2:22 pm
American from America says:
Are you kidding me? Terrorism at this point in time is pretty much exclusively a Muslim thing. Stop deflecting. You have no answer to what I ask because the muslim community will not help. End of story. Your weak attempts at answering and your transparent deflecting off the topic is an embarrassment to yourselves. Just stop already.
Nov. 12, 2013, 2:33 pm
joe from bay ridge says:
So murder is only a bad thing when it is done by a group that you consider a "terrorist organization"? Christians, Jews, Atheists, etc. kill people every day and yet you're silent. Where are your statements of outrage?

Until you can show me that one person from the organization is responsible for one death your call for a denunciation will amount to nothing more than guilt by association. Do you even see the irony associated when someone with your screen name asks for such an unAmerican demand?

And once again, when the police are violating civil liberties they are not protecting anyone.
Nov. 12, 2013, 3:10 pm
American from America says:
Christian, Jewish and atheist terror groups now? Are you serious? If you added up all the people your imaginary terror groups killed in total it wouldn't come close to the number of people who are killed by real Islamic terror groups like those in Africa kill in a month.
Nov. 12, 2013, 3:35 pm
joe from bay ridge says:
When did I say there were Christian/Jewish terror groups? I did ask you if murder is only bad when it is done at the behest of a terror organization?

Who in this group hurt anyone?
Nov. 12, 2013, 3:39 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
Is "deflecting" your vocabulary word of the week, A of A?

Anders Breivik -- the white supremacist who murdered 77 innocents in Norway -- described himself as a "Christian crusader."

The Rwandan genocide was, tragically, abetted by clergy and reps from one particular Christian denomination:

And no religion is exempt from maniacs:

Using Christianity as an example:
-- Are all sane everyday Christians responsible for extremist acts?
-- Since Christianity (like Judaism and Islam) has many branches and no single head, who should issue statements?

Should Catholics apologize for the Nazi non-Catholic Breivik? Were Mormons responsible for Catholic abuses in Rwanda? Who's responsible for the murderous nondenominational Army of God, or for the white-racist "church" that abetted Tim McVeigh?

Would you *demand*,those statements? But whose statements would you accept, anyway?
You won't accept anti-terrorist statements made by anti-terrorist imams and Muslim groups ... so you'd also have to reject anti-Christian-terrorist statements that came via Christian channels.

Nov. 12, 2013, 3:42 pm
American from America says:
Go look up boko haram and learn a little about reality
Nov. 12, 2013, 3:42 pm
American from America says:
In modern times like it or not Islamic terror is king. An occasional nut is not the same thing as organized world wide terror. Let's stop playing games.
Nov. 12, 2013, 3:46 pm
Tom from Dyker Heights says:
Interesting discussion.

To mmhmm I'd say that mere membership in a particular religious group could never confer collective responsibility for the violent act of an individual that happens to claim membership, or actually be a member of, the same group. All Christians are not responsible if a Christian commits a murder. Nor are all Muslims responsible for acts of Islamic terrorism.

However, what's lost in your many posts is this. Accepted orthodox Sunni and Shia religious scholars give explicit approval for many types of violent acts by Muslims against non-Muslims, and base that approval in the Koran and Sunnah. In fact, the last passage of the Koran (time wise) is an explicit call to violence (the famous "verse of the sword"). There is no similar religious approval for violence against non-believers found in Christianity, for example (don't throw out past examples of crimes by Christians, we are talking about religious approval for violence found in holy texts or foundational documents like the New Testament). In this way, and in the amount of violence currently associated with it across the globe, Islam is unique today.

So a discussion of the close relationship between Islam and terrorism, and its implications for the safety of our society, is not necessarily bigoted and in fact is necessary.
Nov. 12, 2013, 4:21 pm
Joe from bay ridge says:
Am: Have you found the member of this group who has committed an act of terror?

Tom, no one is saying that there are not Muslim groups that are prone to terror, but the group mentioned in this article is not one of them and they therefore have no obligation to make any special statement on the topic.
Nov. 12, 2013, 4:52 pm
American from America says:
Yes but they do honor a lawyer who put a roadblock up to surveillance. Why is that?
Nov. 12, 2013, 5:02 pm
Tom from Dyker Heights says:
Joe, I agree that the group mentioned in the article has no obligation to denounce Islamic terrorism. However, the Arab American Association is also painting the police department surveillance program with a very broad brush, unfairly in my view. There is a legitimate basis for that program that they are glossing over by portraying it as discriminatory in intent.
Nov. 12, 2013, 5:31 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
"American from America says:
Yes but they do honor a lawyer who put a roadblock up to surveillance. Why is that?"

Did you notice that the NYPD tried to plant an informant on this organization's board of directors? Simply because it's "Arab-American," and despite its nonconnection to criminal activity?
Nov. 12, 2013, 6:13 pm
American from America says:
The NYPD did that ? I doubt that very much. And if it was true I could guarantee that the press would have had a field day with it.
And yes this organization does have an obligation to denounce terror as do all muslims. As I have said before a good portion of the victims of terrorists are themselves muslim. Why wouldn't they protest?
I observe muslims protesting all over the world against perceived injustices. They are very good at protesting.Except when it comes to terrorism. They even protested in Pakistan when we killed Bin Laden. Very good at protest indeed.
Nov. 12, 2013, 7:12 pm
joe from bay ridge says:
So Am you don't know of a single person in this organization that is tied to terrorism, by your own admission. And yet, you believe they should be expected to denounce something they're not involved in? Defending yourself or a group against civil rights violations is not an act of terror. I really can't believe that you don't see the irony in your screen name!

As for their attorneys who are fighting for civil liberties, it is not fair to say that they're in the way of the police. Catholics would have a huge problem if the police infatuated mass or Catholic organizations outside of church just because there are a few priests who acted unbecoming towards children. Any other religion would have the same problem with government interference with their worship.

As I’ve stated earlier, no one in this organization is suspected of acting in a criminal manner and therefore this groups is no more responsible for renouncing terrorism than you are.
Nov. 12, 2013, 7:18 pm
American from America says:
All Muslims have a obligation to the rest of humanity to denounce terror. It is that simple my friend
Nov. 12, 2013, 7:54 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
"American from America says:
The NYPD did that ? I doubt that very much. And if it was true I could guarantee that the press would have had a field day with it. "

They *did* have a field day and you're just affirming your cluelessness.

The above BP story specifically mentions the attempted informant plant by the NYPD -- but you didn't notice it.

The story links to a Fox (yes, Fox) News report -- which you also missed.

It widely reported in the media, especially after the recent release of "Enemies Within," the Apuzzo-Goldman book about NYPD surveillance.

But you missed that, too ... along with the story of the anti-terrorism Bay Ridge imam who was spied on by the very NYPD he supported.

Either you're nowhere near Brooklyn, you don't read or you live in a bubble.
Nov. 12, 2013, 9:18 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
"American from America says:
All Muslims have a obligation to the rest of humanity to denounce terror. "

People are "obliged" to do something only if they're responsible for it. You assume that all Muslims are somehow responsible for terrorism and that everyday innocents must somehow apologize for what they haven't done.

And you've already dismissed Muslims' anti-terrorism statements and anti-terrorist Muslim groups ... because, apparently, these involved Muslims.

No statement or action would be enough for you. Stop playing games.

Nov. 12, 2013, 9:33 pm
American from America says:
I live in a bubble? Anybody who doesn't see the difference betweeen the occasional shooting by athiests ,jews and christians commiting the occasional act as a lone gunman and Islamic terror lives in a bubble my friend. Muslims need to own up to that. Muslims need to speak up or they are part of the problem.Spin it any way you want Isamic terror is the only real game in town.From multiple attacks in the US to London to Spain to Mumbai to Africa to China to Russia to the Philipines Afghanistan,Iraq,Israel, etc ,etc ,etc,Islamic terror is a blight on humanity and if muslims that claim to not support them dont speak up they are too. If they are not part of the solution then they are part of the problem.
Nov. 12, 2013, 9:47 pm
joe from bay ridge says:
There is nothing to spin. You've yet to show a single member of this group who has committed an act of violence. Therefore, why would they have to make a statement on violent acts? As Americans who obey the laws, raise their children here, pay taxes and work, I a sure that they are against any violent acts against innocents. Just as I assume that you are against such actions.

In this country one does not have prove that they're not guilty of a crime. That is a founding principal. What you are asking for goes against everything we believe in as Americans.
Nov. 12, 2013, 9:56 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
The so-called "American from America" doesn't quite get America's founding principles.
Nov. 12, 2013, 10:05 pm
mmhmmm from bklyn says:
"American from America says:
I live in a bubble?"

You certainly do.
You missed major points in the story you're commenting on.
You missed the media coverage re: the NYPD's spying on anti-terrorist Muslims and its attempt to plant an informer.
You complained that Muslims don't protest terrorism, then rejected the many statements by imams and groups who *have* protested (and of which you were ignorant).

Nor do you understand that people aren'f responsible for crimes they didn't commit. To you, they're guilty unless they "prove" otherwise. That's un-American.
Nov. 12, 2013, 11:20 pm
American from America says:
And my point was that we only hear of Aribic organizations like this one and CAIR for example standing in the way of the police and crying about Arab civil rights. We never hear much at all about them helping to stop terror. My point was the Arab world community is very good at protesting in the streets all over the world for many things but they are never vocal about stopping terror. That is the type of person this group honors.Why is that?As a matter of fact inmany parts of the world they protest and burn our flag when we kill a terrorist with a drone strike. Why is that? Arab girls in many countries are treatd worse than dogs because of groupds like the taliban. CAr bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan kill many muslims. Yet you two defend not helping the police here adnstanding in the way of saving American lives. I can only conclude you two are pro terror youselves.
Nov. 13, 2013, 6:11 am
American from America says:
Another example of the odd way that these groups and the Arab community works is the story of thr ground zero mosque. Yes this is America and one can build wherever they wish. Why there?This was something that hurt the families of the dead and all Americans and New Yorkers very much. This was something that made the Arabic community look bad. It sparked protests.Why were there no members of Arab groups at these protests? It was just plain not nice. A slap in the face.
Where were groups like this one and the Arabic community as a whole. Why not join the protest. Why didn't the leaders of the Arabic community such as those in this organization get together and talk to this Imam.and say"you know what this is wrong.,it makes us look bad"." We are Americans too. " Please move this place it hurts our fellow Americans many died here "
I saw nothing like that happen. It would have been nice.
Nov. 13, 2013, 7 am
joe from bay ridge says:
So wait now you're saying that this group is responsible for any injustice or insult to you committed by all muslims and people of arabic ethnicity? That's quite a burden they must carry.

So you want this group to oppose the first amendment in several instances 1) the right to practice ones religion w/out government interference. 2) the right to free assembly (along with the right to worship).

You want them to stay silent while the NYPD impedes on their privacy without cause or a warrant.

And you want them to take responsibility for violent actions that they have no role in?

That's rich
Nov. 13, 2013, 8:18 am
American from America says:
I want not just this group ,but all Arabic people that came here to get away from things like terror and bad government to do what is right. Something I guess you just don't understand. This is a moral issue. It is what is the right thing to do. Standing in the way of police by filing a lawsuit is not the right thing to do.Putting a mosque where thousands died in the name of a religion because you can is not right. If this Arabic community showed it was willing to help there would be no need for spying. But because they give very little help. Spying and surveillance is a necessity.
Nov. 13, 2013, 8:43 am
joe from bay ridge says:
Tell me one member of this group that is involved in terrorist activites? Just one.

As for the mosque, that was a silly issue and nothing more. Today men and women pray there daily and is anyone harmed? Is the site less sacared? It was a non issue pushed by the media and once it stopped getting coverage no one cared.

Defending your civil rights is never wrong.
Nov. 13, 2013, 9:51 am
Tim from Dyker Heights says:
Joe, investigations of the type that the Arab American Association is complaining about have to satisfy certain legal standards and factual predicates before they are permitted to proceed, all of them articulated under the Handschu consent decree referred to in the article. Don't assume that the NYPD has impeded "on their privacy without cause", and a warrant isn't necessary under the Handschu decree for an undercover to attend their meetings or even to join their organization's board. Neither one of us is privy to the information that formed the factual predicate to that investigation. Also, the target of the investigation may not have been the Association itself, but rather someone they were dealing with.
Nov. 13, 2013, 10:14 am
joe from bay ridge says:
Tim. The police may or may not be acting legally when it comes to mointering this organization. However, there are reports that NYPD overstepped the law in some these cases. There were even complaints from Federal agencies that said as much.

But, this group believes that their rights were violated and they have a right to take that issue to court. A judge will determine if they are correct in their claim. But, to call them terrorists for questioning the NYPD is plain wrong
Nov. 13, 2013, 10:35 am
Tim from Dyker Heights says:
I'm not calling this group terrorists Joe. And I'm also not jumping to conclusions that the police surveillance program in general, or of the Association in particular, is unlawful. However, your posts suggest that you have already reached just such a conclusion, on essentially no evidence aside from the opinion of a political activist who objects to the program as a matter of policy, and who will not concede that there could exist a legitimate need to conduct surveillance in a mosque or in her Association. I don't believe either the law or the facts support her position, but admit that she is entitled to her opinion, as are you. What is especially dangerous to public safety, however, is the notion that Muslims, or any religious group, are somehow exempt from law enforcement investigation due to their status as a religious group. Put differently, Muslims aren't being victimized here. As you point out, if the Association can prove that the surveillance directed toward them was unlawful, they have a remedy available to them.
Nov. 13, 2013, 1:05 pm
joe from bay ridge says:
Tim: Forgive me if my writing suggests that I jumped to conclusions. I will admit that I am not aware of all the facts concerning the surveillance and for all I know there may be a suspect in this group who needs to be watched. I am however aware that the NYPD has overstepped its bounds and even gone into other jurisdictions in their efforts to monitor Muslims.

My main point is that this group believes that their civil liberties have been violated. They have taken this matter to Federal Court and asked for a ruling. I would imagine any other religious organization would take the same action under similar circumstances. To file such a lawsuit is not anti American or pro terrorist. And it is bogus to suggest any different (not saying that you did, but another poster has).

At the end of the day, a judge may find that they’re completely off base and her/his ruling will state the reason why. However, that doesn’t mean that the organization was wrong in pursuing the matter.
Nov. 13, 2013, 1:40 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
"American" from America is no such thing. He's a stupid bigot, like every other stupid bigot in every city and every country, from every religion, race, and creed. And like all bigots, he's really a coward. He wouldn't dare say what he's saying about Christians or Jews, because even he knows he can't get away with that. So he picks on muslims (not all of whom are Arab) and Arabs (not all of whom are muslim), because he thinks nobody he identifies with (ie., Christian, Jew, white, male) will call him out on it. Well, pal, I'm Christian, white, male, have a wife and kids, and I am American in every sense of the word: part of the family is Native American, part founded Pennsylvania with William Penn in 1655, part immigrated from Italy in 1900. And I condemn you and everything you are saying here as profoundly un-American. GTFO. The rest of us haven't been struggling to build this city on a hill for a creep like you to waltz in and desecrate it with your filthy attitude.
Nov. 14, 2013, 11:24 am
American from America says:
You are a fool who has had your survival instinct beaten out of you by the liberal media. Go crawl back under the rock you came from. Everyone here has been respectful for the most part. I have because I know playing the tough guy on a place where nobody knows who you are is easy and quite foolish and cowardly.. Something I would expect from a Park Slope liberal.Get over yourself. I asked some tough questions that need to be answered.I was not satisfied with the answers. Sorry it made you cry into your apron sweetness.
Nov. 14, 2013, 12:17 pm

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