June Newsletter

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Note from Executive Director
The essential role of CAIR-CT has been particularly evident during this Ramadan. In New Haven, the Diyanet Mosque of New Haven suffered a horrible fire which burned through 3 floors of the mosque, all of its prayer hall, and living space for the resident Imam. CAIR was there immediately in the wake of the arson to provide support. We held a press conference the day after the blaze and invited all news outlets and elected officials to respond to what may be one of the most visible hate crimes in modern Connecticut history. CAIR also set a $10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the masjid arson We worked closely with the mosque to raise funds for the rebuilding of the mosque, sharing the LaunchGood campaign initiated by the Yale MSA with all of our email lists and the CAIR National network. That campaign saw a huge response and in sha Allah the mosque will quickly be rebuilt. If you wish to give to that campaign you may do so here. If you wish to contribute to the reward fund please click here.
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As a newcomer to Connecticut, the month of Ramadan gave me an excellent opportunity to visit many mosques in the state and share the work that CAIR is doing. Often, I was the person standing between the hungry faithful and their iftar meal, but our message of civil rights and activism was well received. My goal is to visit each of the 54 mosques in CT this year, so if I didn’t make it to your community yet, please consider inviting me to an event that you will be having.
Ramadan is a time for reflection on how blessed we are and to feel a sense of solidarity with those who are food insecure or vulnerable in other ways. To that end CAIR sponsored an interfaith iftar at the at the Unitarian Church in Meriden which provided sanctuary from immigration detention and deportation to Sujitno Sajuti and his wife. At the Masjid Taqwa Iftar in New Britain we held an open legal clinic and helped attendees with immigration issues. During the last 10 days of the month we took to the streets of New Haven with volunteers to feed the homeless. CAIR was honored to participate in these activities responding to the social justice mandate of Islam.

May in Review

5/3 Know Your Rights at Berlin

We prepared the Berlin Community for Ramadan by holding a Know Your Rights session in the mosque. The program was attended by children and their parents. Topics of discussion ranged from reasonable accommodation in school and work, to steps parents can take to protect their children from school bullying.

5/9 Tabling at New Britain Mosque
At Masjid Taqwa’s multi-faith iftar, CAIR-CT held a free legal clinic for issues such as immigration, federal employment discrimination, and travel delays. People of different faiths visited the table. We also handed out our Know Your Rights Ramadan flyers explaining how to ask for reasonable accommodations for fasting and prayers at work and school during Ramadan.
5/10 Know Your Rights – Farmington Valley Mosque
CAIR – Connecticut offered a brief Know Your Rights Overview at the Farmington Valley American Muslim Center for Ramadan, and will be returning back for a full presentation in the following months. CAIR discussed the religious accommodations that are the right of all who work in the United States.
5/12 Interfaith Iftar for Muslim Students of Wallingford
CAIR-CT took part in a local interfaith iftar organized by the Choate MSA. Speakers included a rabbi, a priest, and a Muslim chaplain. The speakers discussed commonalities among the Abrahamic faith traditions, emphasizing our common humanity under one all-powerful creator. In a time when our places of worship are being attacked, it is important to remember what binds us together as people of faith.
5/12-5/13 – Responding to New Haven Diyanet Arson – CAIR – CT issues reward for information
On May 12th, Connecticut Muslims were horrified to learn that the Diyanet Mosque of New Haven had burned down. This sadness only deepened on Monday, when the New Haven Fire Department declared that they believed the fire to have been set intentionally. CAIR-Connecticut responded to this by adding $10,000 to the $2,500 reward set by the City of New Haven, and holding a press conference at the Diyanet Center later that day. The event, and interviews with Executive Director Aouadi were covered by The New York Times, Huffington Post, Hartford Courant, Buzzfeed News, Eyewitness News 3, NBC, NBC Connecticut, News 8, and Fox 61.
5/14 – CAIR LaunchGood set up!
CAIR-CT announced a Launchgood reward fund to help aid in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for burning the Diyanet mosque. Please Contribute!
5/14 – Interfaith Iftar at Unitarian Universalist Church, Meriden
CAIR-CT, working with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Meriden, organized an iftar event at the church. For nearly two years the church provided sanctuary from deportation to Sujitno Sajuti and his wife. The CAIR iftar brought some of the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan to Sujitno who had been unable to leave the church since 2017. Sujitno was finally freed on May 31
5/15 – In studio interview at NBC Connecticut
We spoke about the importance of mosque security and the fact that CAIR CT is helping to facilitate local mosques in receiving state and federal funds for security cameras, alarm systems, security training for parishioners, and other security related interventions for places of worship inlight of the recent spike attacks and vandalisms on religious places of worship.
5/18 CAIR organized Iftar
CAIR’s Executive Director spoke about the significance and importance of CAIR – Connecticut at a Norwalk iftar. Tark Aouadi gave an overview of CAIR-CT’s role in educating the community, developing relationships to help fight Islamophobia and discrimination, and being proactive and engaged.
5/17 Interfaith Vigil at the New Haven Diyanet Center
Attended by Senator Blumenthal, state and local representatives, the Turkish Counselor to the US, and respected members of Turkish and Connecticut Community. Over 700 people were in attendance for the vigil the night before Senator Blumenthal’s visit. CAIR CT raised over $1,200.00 dollars for the reward to capture arsonists responsible fro the mosque burning fund.
5/19 Know Your Rights – New London
CAIR – Connecticut’s first Know Your Rights Seminar after the horrific New Haven arson attack, we discussed actions Muslim leaders can do to protect their places of worships from such heinous criminal activities in Connecticut in the future.
5/19 – CAIR – CT helps with security grants
We are offering to facilitate Connecticut Masajid access to grant writers and experts to write grants to help fund security infrastructure. Deadlines for these grants are quickly approaching on the federal and state level. There are private grants that also can be accessed to help secure your masjid. If you are interested in engaging learning more about how CAIR CT can facilitate access to grant writers and experts in procurement of security grants, please contact us for more information.
5/21 – CAIR editorial published in the New Haven Register
Executive Director Tark Aouadi wrote an editorial in the New Haven Register, condemning the President’s Hate Speech. Aouadi wrote “I do not want to attend another vigil in solidarity with victims of bias-motivated violence. Rather, I would like the various groups that make up the fabric of this great state including our political leaders to come together in times of joy and celebrate the humanity we all share in common.”
Read the rest of the article here.
5/27 – Feeding the Homeless of New Haven
CAIR-CT, along with local volunteers reached out to the homeless population of New Haven, providing lunch and dinner meals to people in need over the course of the twenty first night of Ramadan, Memorial Day. It was humbling to help people in need during Ramadan. CAIR-CT strives to be a social justice leader in CT.
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