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August 8, 2014 6

North Carolina Restaurant Discontinues Praying Customer Discount

Last week a North Car­olina diner’s reported four-year-old 15% cus­tomer dis­count for “pray­ing in pub­lic” before meals gained wide­spread atten­tion after a patron’s receipt show­ing the rebate was posted on Face­book.  This atten­tion was also the discount’s demise.  After mul­ti­ple news reports appeared, com­men­ta­tors and orga­ni­za­tions began spec­u­lat­ing that the prac­tice was ille­gal, and the diner ended the discount. north-carolina-restaurant-discount

Fed­eral pub­lic accom­mo­da­tion laws, which cover restau­rants and din­ers, pro­hibit unequal treat­ment of cus­tomers in the enjoy­ment of goods and ser­vices based on reli­gion, as well as on race, color, or nation ori­gin.  The dis­count may have vio­lated the law because it effec­tively favored reli­gious cus­tomers over non-believers or other cus­tomers who — for what­ever rea­son — choose not to pray in public.

The mar­ket­place brings together Amer­i­cans of all races, reli­gions and back­grounds.  In addi­tion to likely being ille­gal, com­mer­cial dis­counts based on reli­gious prac­tices are divi­sive, anti­thet­i­cal to our plu­ral­is­tic soci­ety, and sim­ply an ill-advised busi­ness prac­tice.  The diner did the right thing in dis­con­tin­u­ing the dis­count it was offering.

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June 25, 2014 0

King Samir Shabazz Said To Be Arrested On “Gun Related Charges”

New Black Pan­ther Party (NBPP) National Field Mar­shall King Samir Shabazz was arrested “on alleged pro­ba­tion vio­la­tions and gun related charges” accord­ing to for­mer NBPP leader Malik Zulu Shabazz.samir-shabazz-arrested-new-black-panther-malik

While the details of his reported arrest are still unclear, Samir Shabazz was pre­vi­ously arrested in June 2013 in New York for car­ry­ing a loaded, unli­censed firearm and ille­gally wear­ing body armor.

In an online radio inter­view on June 17, Shabazz, whose for­mer name is Maruse Heath, announced that on July 5 he would be speak­ing in Char­lotte, North Car­olina, and that he intends to start a Char­lotte chap­ter of the NBPP.

In the same inter­view, Shabazz ranted about the “damn lying bas­tard, the white man,” stat­ing, “I don’t plan on com­mit­ting no damn sui­cide. Damn it, I’m prepar­ing for some homi­cide, on my enemy.”

Such vio­lent rhetoric is noth­ing new for Shabazz, who pub­licly stated that NBPP mem­bers should press their uni­forms so the crease could “cut that cracker’s throat in half and watch his head roll down the street.”

In an August 2012 NBPP online radio broad­cast, he went on a vicious tirade describ­ing white nurs­eries and churches as legit­i­mate tar­gets for bomb­ing stat­ing “You’re going to have to go into the God damn nurs­ery and just throw a damn bomb in the damn nurs­ery and just kill every­thing white in sight that ain’t right,” and “Well we gonna throw a bomb in that God damn church, burn up the cracker, burn up the cracker Jesus, and burn up some cracker white supremacy.”

In 2009, Shabazz was impli­cated in a U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice suit after a voter intim­i­da­tion inci­dent while he was head of the NBPP’s Philadel­phia chap­ter. Addi­tion­ally, he was arrested and released in 2008 for dis­or­derly con­duct after he and oth­ers inter­rupted a rally in Atlantic City.

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November 13, 2013 0

North Carolina Arrest Marks 6th American In 2013 Associated With Al Qaeda In Syria

basit-sheikh-terrorism

Basit Javed Sheikh

A North Car­olina man was arrested Novem­ber 2 on charges of attempt­ing to travel to Syria to join the Al-Qaeda group Jab­hat al-Nusra. His arrest under­scores a con­tin­ued trend of Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents attempt­ing to join ter­ror­ist groups in the Syr­ian con­flict; it marks the fourth such arrest and sixth pub­licly dis­closed case of Amer­i­cans fight­ing or attempt­ing to fight in Syria this year.  It also demon­strates the increas­ing power of Face­book and other social media plat­forms in ter­ror­ist recruit­ment and propaganda.

Basit Javed Sheikh is a 29 year-old per­ma­nent res­i­dent orig­i­nally from Pak­istan, resid­ing in Cary, North Car­olina. His arrest marked his third failed attempt to travel to Syria – attempts that were made and adver­tised over social media.

Since Jan­u­ary 2013, Sheikh allegedly cre­ated at least seven Face­book accounts with the pseu­do­nym Abdul Basit or Abdul Basit II. Dur­ing that time, a num­ber of those accounts were shut down by Face­book for being in vio­la­tion of its terms of use, but he per­sisted in cre­at­ing more. At this time, there appear to be two active accounts likely belong­ing to Sheikh. The first, Abdul Basit II, was cre­ated Octo­ber 21 and is already heav­ily pop­u­lated with posts extolling ter­ror­ism world­wide – rang­ing from prais­ing the Pak­istani Tal­iban to show­ing an Islamist fighter point­ing at Jerusalem to an image of Islamist mil­i­tants with an quote from Islamic sources say­ing, “A sec­tion of my com­mu­nity will con­tinue to fight for the right and over­come their oppo­nents till the last of them fights with the Antichrist.” The sec­ond cur­rently active pro­file, Abdul Basit, was cre­ated Octo­ber 29, 2013, and has a gun as its pro­file picture.

Sheikh allegedly was even more active on his older Face­book pro­files. Accord­ing to an affi­davit in sup­port of his arrest war­rant, he reg­u­larly used the site to post jihadist videos and pro­pa­ganda and to inter­act with other extrem­ists. In addi­tion to being a mem­ber of a now-defunct Jab­hat al-Nusrah Face­book group, Sheikh allegedly posted mul­ti­ple times about the war in Syria and about the need to join the fight­ing there, and quoted a num­ber of sources prais­ing mar­tyr­dom.  He also allegedly posted videos and com­ments call­ing for the death and pun­ish­ment of Amer­i­can lead­ers and sol­diers, includ­ing one video that said, “Let the mujahideen kill them and destroy them…Allah give vic­tory to Sheikh Usama [bin Laden].”

Sheikh also appears to have been included in con­ver­sa­tions of anti-Jewish con­spir­acy the­o­ries. In one thread of an online forum, he was included in a note blam­ing Jews for “inten­tion­ally spread[ing]” mod­er­ate – or, as the thread called it, “wrong” – inter­pre­ta­tions of Islam that, among other things, “states that jihad is HARAM [forbidden].”

Sheikh had ini­tially trav­elled to Syria in the fall of 2012, when he report­edly joined the Free Syr­ian army but left because he dis­agreed with the group’s moti­va­tions. He then booked a flight in Sep­tem­ber 2013, but did not fol­low through because he “could not muster the strength to leave his par­ents.” His con­tin­ued Face­book posts, how­ever, sug­gested that he was deter­mined to try again.

Ulti­mately, it was Sheikh’s alleged online activ­ity that led to his arrest on his third attempt. After join­ing a Face­book page cre­ated by the FBI that pur­ported to pro­mote extrem­ist Islam, Sheikh allegedly began to reg­u­larly con­verse with an FBI agent over Face­book, Skype, and email. Accord­ing to the affi­davit, he made a new set of travel plans to Syria in con­sul­ta­tion with the agent, insist­ing that he was eager to fight in jihad even when told he could back out, and was arrested at the airport.

Since 2007, over 50 Amer­i­can cit­i­zens and per­ma­nent res­i­dents have been arrested or charged in con­nec­tion with attempts to join ter­ror­ist groups abroad, includ­ing Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula.

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