IAHR’S December 2017 Newsletter

Interfaith Action for Human Rights

Interfaith Action for Human Rights

Dear Tony —

As 2017 comes to a close, please read the following articles which give an overview of IAHR’s agenda.  

The Summit of Greater Washington Imams, Rabbis and Community Leaders Was A Tremendous Success!

VOX: A new FBI report says hate crimes — especially against Muslims — went up in 2016

Next Pen Pal Orientation-January 17, 2018

Women’s Hygiene Products’ Drive Continues!

In the Literature: Two Articles on Restricting the Use of Solitary in Canada and the U.S.

Fund Raising Drive Reaches Goal!

 The Summit of Greater Washington Imams, Rabbis, and Community Leaders Was a Tremendous Success! 

By Parvez Khan, December 21, 2017

Rasit Telbisoglu, Program Director of the Rumi Forum:

”It gave me a sense of solidarity and community in an age of increasing hostilities and insecurity. I once again realized and enjoyed human bonds connecting us, making us brothers and sisters. I am sure we made our fathers Adam and Abraham proud of us.”Imam-Rabbi_Summit_Andra-Rashid_2017.jpg

IAHR is gratified that at the end of a year in which hate crimes against both Muslims and Jews have reached record levels, and with the appalling re-tweeting of vicious anti-Muslim propaganda, that on December 3, 2017, approximately 150 Imams, Rabbis, Community Leaders and allies came together at the Islamic Center of Northern Virginia to vow to stand up for each other. Notable people within both faith communities were interviewed on WTOP, while the Washington Jewish Week published supportive articles:

After listening to a discussion among representatives of the FBI Washington Field Office, Muslim Advocates and the Anti-Defamation League regarding how to respond effectively to hate crimes and also listening to presentations of exemplars of Muslim-Jewish engagement in the areas of “standing up for the other”, service to others, social action, education and building unity, event organizers are excited that so many people offered dynamic ideas and volunteered to work on them.

Many of the Summit’s attendees signed up to participate in the JAM-AT (Jews and Muslims-Acting Together) Social Action Committee, the social action arm of the MUSLIM-JEWISH FORUM and the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society of Washington (JIDS).

IAHR plans to provide you with relevant information throughout the year regarding the important initiatives generated at this 2017 Summit which, hopefully, will inform the good work of those you appoint to work on the JAM-AT Social Action Committee. In order to move forward with the activism necessary to bring them to fruition, it is imperative that as many mosques, synagogues and organizations, as possible, have representatives on this most important social action committee. With your cooperation and support, we can make a real difference in allaying our mutual concern regarding safeguarding our communities.

Summit_photo__4.jpgGroup Photo of the Imam, Rabbi, and Community Leaders Summit

IAHR along with the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum and the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society are deeply grateful that despite the strident voices of division seeking to provoke hate and fear Muslims, Jews, and interfaith allies are determined to strengthen our alliance, embrace our common humanity and insist that all Americans, regardless of faith, ethnicity or orientation, must be treated with dignity and respect.

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VOX: A new FBI report says hate crimes — especially against Muslims — went up in 2016

The number of reported hate crimes increased by nearly 5 percent.

By German Lopez   german.lopez@vox.com  Nov 13, 2017

The number of reported hate crimes in 2016 increased by nearly 5 percent to more than 6,100, according to a new report by the FBI.   FBI_seal.jpg

As has long been true, hate crimes based on race were by far the biggest category, with more than half of reported hate crime incidents motivated by race, ethnicity, or ancestry. Among those, nearly half were anti-black crimes, and nearly 10 percent were anti-Latino. About one in five were anti-white, although white people were still much less likely, when accounting for total population, to suffer a hate crime than minority groups.

Hate crimes motivated by religion were the next biggest category, making up more than 20 percent of reported incidents. Jewish and Muslim people were the two most common targets in this category, with nearly 54 percent and more than 24 percent, respectively, of religiously motivated hate crimes committed against them.

Compared to 2015, there were increases in reported hate crimes nearly across the board. Reported anti-Muslim hate crimes rose by nearly 20 percent, anti-white by 17 percent, anti-Latino by 15 percent, and anti-Jewish by 3 percent. The number of anti-black crimes remained nearly flat from 2015 to 2016.

There were also increases in hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation — by about 2 percent — and gender identity — by nearly 9 percent. Together, those two types of hate crimes made up nearly one in five of all hate crimes reported by the FBI in 2016.

Nearly 26 percent of reported hate crimes were intimidation. About 24 percent were assault. More than 41 percent were property crimes. And five total were murders.

The FBI reported a nearly 7 percent rise in hate crimes in 2015, driven in large part by a 67 percent increase in reported hate crimes against Muslims.


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Next Pen Pal Orientation-January 17, 2018

Close to 70 people from different walks of life and different religious communities have signed up to be pen pals with DC residents who are serving their sentence in a federal prison.  Rabbi Feinberg and Rev Bennett have already led three orientations: at Seekers Church, Adas Israel Congregation, and Temple Micah.  On January 17, 2018 at 7 p.m. there will be a fourth orientation at Tifereth Israel Congregation, 7701 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20012.  You can RSVP by clicking here.

coffee___pen__2.jpgOver 4,600 District of Columbia residents are incarcerated in 122 Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities around the country and are isolated from their families and loved ones. This makes it particularly difficult for them to successfully maintain supportive relationships and reintegrate into their communities upon their return.

IAHR’S Pen Pal Program is designed to link members of churches, synagogues, mosques and temples to District residents in BOP facilities.

Close to 150 men and women in the BOP have already signed up for a pen pal. They are looking for someone who will reach out to them on a regular basis.  We are looking for more volunteers! Please consider attending the next orientation on January 17.  Rabbi Feinberg and Rev Bennett are happy to come to another congregation or community to conduct an orientation.

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Women’s Hygiene Products’ Drive Continues! 

One of IAHR’s partners in the Maryland Prisoners’ Rights Coalition is the non-profit group called Reproductive Justice Inside. Reproductive Justice Inside is itself a statewide coalition of many organizations interested in learning how sexual and reproductive healthcare is experienced by women and girls in Maryland..

Near the end of this summer, the Warden at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup, MD (MCIW) informed members of the Maryland Prisoners’ Rights Coalition that MCIW was having issues with their deliveries of sanitary products. Incarcerated women in Maryland are lacking sustainable and affordable access to supplies for their menstrual periods. This problem continues. Sanitary_Pad_Drive.jpg

IAHR believes it is a human rights issue not to supply incarcerated women with sanitary supplies as they are needed. IAHR has learned that incarcerated women have to spend their own commissary money to pay for these supplies. Some of the women cannot afford this. In addition, IAHR has recently learned that there is a shortage of women’s underwear and socks.

Reproductive Justice Inside with IAHR’s full support will introduce legislation to begin long term, systemic improvements to sexual and reproductive healthcare provided in Maryland’s correctional and detention centers.

In the meantime we are asking you right now to help fill in the gaps to provide basic necessities for women at MCIW.

Reproductive Justice Inside is collecting unopened packages of unscented sanitary napkins to deliver to MCIW. They can be mailed or dropped off MondayFriday to either of these locations: NPCMF, 8905 Fairview Road, Suite #401, Silver Spring MD 20910or NAACP, 512 Orchard St, Baltimore MD 21201.

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In the Literature: Two Articles on Restricting the Use of Solitary in Canada and the U.S. 

This last month we saw two published articles on how administrations and courts are restricting the use of solitary.  In Canada, an Ontario Superior Court judge has given the Canadian government one year to overhaul the laws governing solitary confinement after finding existing statutes unconstitutional during a landmark case launched by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association nearly three years ago. Solitary_Cell-globe_and_mail.jpgIn the court case, lawyers for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association argued for a 15-day limit on segregation placements, a prohibition on the isolation of mentally ill inmates, a rule barring prisoners aged 18 to 21 from solitary cells, a ban on segregation being used as a form of protective custody and an independent oversight system for all segregation decisions. This is exactly the kind of changes IAHR is pushing for in Maryland and Virginia. To read the full article in the Globe and Mail, click here.

In addition, the Vera Institute for Justice has reported that five different states are considering major changes in their use of solitary confinement. Jurisdictions as different as New York City, North Carolina, and Oregon are all considering phasing out the use of prolonged solitary confinement. To read about these developments, click here. 

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Fund Raising Drive Reaches Goal! 

The IAHR Board extends its thanks to all our supporters who helped us reach our end of year goal of $20,000. If you have not made an end of year donation, you can do so by clicking heregratitude.jpgThe IAHR Board is grateful to the 200 donors who helped us reach our goal. The Board wishes everyone a sweet and healthy new year.

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Blessings for a more just and compassionate new year,

Rabbi Chuck Feinberg



Interfaith Action for Human Rights · PO Box 55802, Washington, DC 20040, United States
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