North America

Phillip Parrish, a Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota, told a Muslim community leader, “Islam is ultimately not a faith,” and refused to meet with her if she was “practicing Islam."

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Regina Mustafa, founder of the Minnesota-based Community Interfaith Dialogue on Islam, reached out to Parrish after learning he attended a talk by Usama Dakdok called “Revealing the Truth about ISIS.” Dakdok is one of a number of anti-Muslim speakers who have created a cottage industry touring the country to malign Islam as an inherently violent religion.

In his Minnesota presentation, Dakdok said ISIS was the “true representation of Islam.”

Mustafa sent Parrish an email, offering to meet with him face-to-face. “Since you have attended this talk about my faith,” she wrote, “I figured you would also like to hear from a person who actually practices Islam.”

In Parrish’s reply, he condemned Islam as fundamentally incompatible with U.S. law.

First, he claimed to have, “a very unusual in-depth level of training, experience, and understanding regarding multiple faiths and the practice of Islam,” which he has suggested in public interviews is related to his time in the U.S. Naval Reserve working in intelligence.

He continued, “I separate Islam from the word faith because faith takes belief and Islam requires only submission. I will not participate in any faith dialog because Islam is ultimately not a faith.”

Parrish demanded Mustafa “publicly denounce Sharia and swear to adhere to, protect, comply with, accept, and defend the United States Constitution.” He suggested that as a practicing Muslim — or as he put it, “practicing Islamist” — she would be unable to do so. He also wrote, “Islam, Sharia, and the Quran are the antithesis of the U.S. Constitution.”

Parrish’s public platform also vilifies Muslims and embraces anti-Muslim conspiracies. His campaign website suggests a fictitious, taxpayer-funded scheme to finance and promote terrorism, reading, “Minnesotans will no longer fund jihadists through the exploitation of social programs. We will no longer train ill-intended people for nefarious and terrorist activities.”

In a public appearance on Minnesota podcast “Up and at ‘Em” last November, Parrish said,

“In one who practices Islam, there is no separation of civilian law from a theocracy.” He told the hosts that Islam in America represents “a violent, dishonest abusive culture that is getting a pass.”

On Twitter, Parrish has retweeted (alleged) falsehoods about Muslims, one alleging Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and another claiming that Saudi Arabian terrorists have taken over a Boston mosque.

He also uses social media to rail against “pundits, globalists, political elite, One World Order, socialist, Marxist nutcases,” and decry what he calls “information warfare” coming from the press.

Parrish was pressed for time when reached for comment, but said he objected to Mustafa sharing the emails, which he called a “private conversation.”  He also said that conversations with the press about the content of the emails were “insulting,” and amounted to “emotional manipulation.”

He stood by his claim that sharia law is being practiced with impunity in Minnesota, and further suggested that Muslims are being subjected to harsh, extralegal punishments under theocratic rule.

“It’s very clear based on research,” he said. “Absolutely.” He said information supporting this claim was public, and available on government websites run by the state of Minnesota. He did not share those reports by press time, and a search of state statutes yielded no results.

Parrish also said he bases his objections on law, and not on religion, saying, “This whole thing is about behaviors.”

American mother Amy Hunter arrived at a parking lot near her home in West Sacramento on New Year’s Eve to pick up her daughters, Sara, 9 and Sophie, 12, only to find them dying beside the corpse of their father.

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The car was parked at the designated drop-off point for the girls, near West Sacramento’s City Hall in the US.

The victims’ parents had been involved in a custody battle for years, reported Sacramento Bee.

The two girls were later declared dead by West Sacramento Police in a murder-suicide by their father, Hamdy Rouin, 46, a Tunisian immigrant who was also found dead in the car.

The mother described her ex-husband Rouin as an abusive man and heavy drinker who had hit her, and threatened her to take the girls away to Tunisia, according to sacbee.com.

The mother who converted to Islam, and other family and friends from her Islamic religious community gathered on Tuesday evening for a vigil where she lived with her little girls.

She filed for divorce in December 2014 and it was finalized in December 2016. Rouin was allowed supervised visits once a week with his girls after completing a court-ordered parenting class.

The father gradually got access to the girls and was allowed unsupervised visits as he was listed as having joint legal custody in a November 2016 document, while the mother retained sole physical custody.

MUSLIMS WILL REPLACE JEWS AS AMERICA'S SECOND-LARGEST RELIGIOUS GROUP BY 2040, STUDY SHOWS

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In the past decade, Muslims living in the U.S. has increased by nearly one million people—and if that population growth continues, Muslims could replace religiously Jewish people as America’s second-largest religious group by 2040, a new study out of the Pew Research Center shows.

Coming up with a detailed account of how many Muslim people live in the U.S. is difficult, because the Census Bureau does not ask questions about religion. However, based on Pew’s demographic research and survey results, they estimate that about 1.1 percent of the total U.S. population is Muslim.

In 2007, there were approximately 2.35 million Muslims living in the U.S. According to Pew’s projections, the Muslim population is growing much faster than the country’s Jewish population, and by 2050, the U.S. Muslim population will reach 8.1 million, or 2.1 percent of the nation’s total population—that’s twice their representation today. In fact, the U.S. Muslim population increases at about 100,000 people every year.

This increase isn’t due to religious conversions, because about as many Americans convert to Islam as those who leave Islam, the study shows.

“Indeed, while about one-in-five American Muslim adults were raised in a different faith tradition and converted to Islam, a similar share of Americans who were raised Muslim now no longer identify with the faith,” the study read.

So many of these Muslim Americans moved to the U.S. from other countries. Americans are evenly split on whether Muslims in the U.S. wish to assimilate, according to a separate Pew study, but a majority of Americans believe that “having an increasing number of people from many different races, ethnic groups and nationalities is a positive for the U.S.”

Despite this, hate crimes and assaults against Muslim Americans are increasing each year. There were more assaults against Muslim Americans in 2016 than in 2001, the year of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new hate crimes statistics from the FBI.

In 2016, there were 307 incidents of anti-Muslim hate crimes, marking a 19 percent increase from 2015. However, the largest number of all types of hate crimes against a religious group was toward Jewish Americans.

“In 2016, there were 684 anti-Jewish hate crime incidents, marking a slight increase from 664 in 2015,” a report from Pew Research Center read. “By comparison, in 2016, there were 62 hate crimes against Catholics and 15 against Protestants.”