Community News (V9-I13)

Dr. Mohammed Khan appointed to AHA task force

Dr. Mohamed Khan, medical director for cardiovascular diseases at Shasta Regional Medical Center, has been appointed to the American Heart Association heart attack task force.

Khan is one of the eight physicians on the panel. The task force met March 5 at the American Heart Association in Los Angeles to develop a plan and make recommendations to hospitals in the state on how to improve outcomes in heart attack patients.

Prison system investigates bias act against Muslim chaplain

EAST LYME, MA–The state Department of Correction is investigating a claim of discrimination against the Muslim chaplain at the state prison for women in Niantic, the WTNH News Channel reported

A childhood picture of Bilal Asari, of him among a group of white children, that has been hanging in his office was defaced. Someone painted over Asari’s black face with white correction fluid and scrawled a racial slur across the photo in red ink.

Correction spokesman Brian Garnett says the agency is investigating what he calls “vile and bigoted behavior.”

Asari says someone came into his locked office to deface the photo, which he said his mother had given him to remind him of how far he had come from the days when he was bused to an all-white school. Asari said the incident is just the latest in a series of incidents of racial and religious discrimination he has faced from Department of Correction employees at the prison.

Target transfers Muslim cashiers who won’t handle pork

MINNEAPOLIS, MN– Muslim cashiers at Target stores in the Twin Cities who refuse to ring up products that contain pork are being shifted to other positions, the WKBT News Channel reported.

Some Muslim cashiers had been declining to scan bacon and other pork products because doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs. They would call over other cashiers to ring up pork purchases, or sometimes ask customers to scan the items themselves.

Target says it has now asked its Muslim cashiers who object to handling pork to wear gloves or transfer to other areas of the stores. A Target spokeswoman calls it a reasonable solution.

But some Muslims say Target’s move is an overreaction to public pressure, and that it should be able to accommodate Muslim cashiers without reassigning them to other duties.

Muslim students share their experiences with teachers

WOODBRIDGE, VA–Muslim students of Prince William County public schools shared their experiences in the post-911 era at a conference for teachers. Organized by the county’s Office of Multicultural Education the event was titled, “The Cultural Symposium on Islam.” Students proclaimed that they felt welcomed in the schools and their overall interaction with other students was good apart from a few incidents.

One student said that a few years after 9-11 he was followed by another student all the way to his classroom while whispering the word “Taliban.”

“We get a lot of flak because of 9/11. It’s really hurtful sometimes, the things people will say,” said Osbourn Park High School senior Mahammed Akhtar.

The symposium was a chance to answer some questions about Islam and to help break down some of those stereotypes, students said.

“I think it’s great that we have this event so we can answer questions,” Kazmi said. “That way ignorance is diminished.”

The students said that for the most part they’ve had positive experiences in county schools.

“My experiences have been very positive. I’ve never been excluded or anything like that,” Stonewall Jackson High School junior Nadia Tanoli said.

The students said their classmates sometimes ask questions about religion, and they don’t mind that.

Florida bus driver fired for making derogatory “joke”

ROLANDO, FL– A bus driver was fired after a Muslim couple complained that he made derogatory remarks about their religion over the vehicle’s loudspeaker.

The unnamed driver reportedly burst out a volley of offensive remarks after the New York couple boarded the bus.

“And now they’re telling us we’re supposed to be nice to these Muslim terrorists who are trying to kill us all,” Hilal Isler recalled him saying. “Here in America, we call them ‘rag-heads’ or ‘towelheads,’ but that’s not right. What they wear on their heads is more like a sheet. We should be calling them sheetheads.”

After returning to New York the couple reported the incident to the Orlando Sentinel and the International Drive Master Transit and Improvement District.

Luann Brooks, executive director of the transit company, told the Sentinel that the driver had been identified on Thursday and dismissed.

Brooks said while the driver’s “conduct is not going to be tolerated,” drivers for the service are encouraged to interact with passengers and play the role of ambassadors to the area.