It’s no news to anyone listening in Tennessee, that Governor Haslam is warning that projected revenue shortfalls will mean budget cuts.
Speaker Harwell acknowledged that with “revenues down a little this year, [balancing the state’s budget] will be tough. But we will stick to the principles of fiscal responsibility and balance it responsibly.”
On January 2, 2014, The Tennessean reported: “The governor has argued that the annual growth in Medicaid spending has put the squeeze on other programs the state would like to spend money on. ‘Medicaid takes up all of our new dollars, and that’s just the hard fact,’ the governor told reporters after a Rotary Club speech last month.”
The week of January 20, 2014, the newspaper ran a series titled “Broken Trust” about the 7,100 most vulnerable Tennesseans with developmental disabilities who are forced to go without needed services because of the state’s failure to allocate the funds.
The funds needed to provide these services are Medicaid funds. These are dollars that the State spends and the federal government matches.
Rep. Bill Sanderson believes that these state Medicaid dollars should NOT go to Tennesseans with developmental disabilities, but instead, to refugees who don’t even live in Tennessee yet. He’s referring to the refugees that are eventually brought to Tennessee by Catholic Charities, a federal contractor that gets paid a lot of taxpayer money to bring refugees to Tennessee.
When refugees are brought to Tennessee by the federal contractors, they are immediately enrolled into any and all public assistance programs, including, state-funded TennCare, SSI, and cash welfare. The federal government used to reimburse the state for 3 years worth of what it cost the state to provide these benefits. But typical of the federal government, they broke their promise to the states and stopped reimbursing the states for what the federal program cost.
A recent op-ed in The Tennessean notes: “The federal government assumed there would be a cost to states when it established the resettlement program in 1980. That’s why it promised three years of support for refugees, reimbursing states for their social-service costs. That period quickly shrank from three years to eight months, and there is no longer any reimbursement for state costs. The federal government has repeatedly documented the fact that refugee program costs are being shifted to states.”
In fact, the federal government acknowledged in multiple reports, that they were simply “passing these costs onto the state.” During an August 2013 legislative hearing it was disclosed that when Catholic Charities took over the program, the number of refugees being brought to Tennessee increased pretty dramatically and that in 2011, for example, 58% of over 2000 people they brought to Tennessee, were enrolled into TennCare (that’s a little more than 1,000 people).
Last year, a bill was brought to Rep. Sanderson’s committee that was designed to help Tennessee figure out how much it was costing the state to pay for the federal program, a program that the state withdrew from in 2008 and is now run by a federal contractor.
But Rep. Sanderson who scathingly accused the bill sponsors and advocates of going on a “witch hunt against Catholic Charities,” related how he had watched a “60 Minutes” segment about refugees and it convinced him that they needed our help. He enthusiastically joined up with the federal contractors and led the effort to not pass the bill out of the committee.
The lobbyist for Catholic Charities was also the lobbyist for the TN Disability Coalition supported Sanderson’s position. Isn’t this Disability Coalition supposed to advocate for the needs of the 7,100 people with disabilities waiting for services? Did this lobbyist have a conflict of interest? The lobbyist may have had a conflict of interest since she is no longer the Disability Coalition lobbyist.
But how does the Governor propose a budget and how does the legislature pass a budget if they don’t know what everything costs? What if they knew how much money the federal contractors were racking up for the state and then decided not to spend that money on that program? Could they use that state money instead for some of the 7,100 Tennesseans with disabilities?
Maybe Speaker Harwell needs have a heart to heart with her House colleague.
Maybe Sanderson hadn’t read about or met one of the 7,100 Tennesseans with disabilities. Maybe they need “60 Minutes” to help them get his attention.
Better yet, let him and Speaker Harwell know what Tennesseans think:
- Back in 2012, representatives of the Nashville Jewish Federation were quick to applaud Gov. Haslam’s appointment of Samar Ali, noting her “impressive” personal and professional background
- included in Samar’s professional background is her work as the transatlantic liaison on behalf of her father’s organization the Jerusalem Fund when they were setting up the Palestine Diabetes Institute
- the Jerusalem Fund refers to the “Occupied Palestinian Territories”
- Jerusalem Fund director Yousef Munayyer openly advocates BDS against Israel
- Samar’s father has served on the board of the Jerusalem Fund since 2000, became Vice-Chair in 2004 and from 2005 to present as the Chairman
It seems the Jerusalem Fund’s anti-Israel bent has not wavered much since its founding. It’s very public advocacy for BDS against Israel makes this organization’s position crystal clear.
Does the Jewish Federation understand the end goal of BDS is to destroy the State of Israel?
Posted today on Front Page Magazine:
Samar Ali: Her Father’s Organization Wants to Destroy Israel
Dr. Subhi Ali, Chairman of the Jerusalem Fund, is the father of Haslam appointee Samar Ali. Dr. Ali’s organization advocates BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel as a way to end Israel as a Jewish state; to destroy it by any means possible.
Hisham Sharabi, who founded the the Jerusalem Fund (JF) in 1990, along with its programmatic arms including the Palestine Center (previously named the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine), endorsed the anti-Israel rhetoric and actions of pro-Palestinian groups like Hamas.
As detailed in Newsletter #39, Dr. Ali joined the JF in 2000, became Vice-Chair in 2004 alongside founder Sharabi and has served as Chairman since 2005.
The Hamas Charter is posted on the JF website, along with position papers and information briefs suggesting that there are positive aspects to Hamas. Is this JF’s effort to help legitimize Hamas regardless of its terrorist designation? Or is it because JF’s founder Sharabi supported Hamas’ strikes against Israel?
The terrorism financing prosecution referred to as “The Holy Foundation” (HLF) involved the largest pro-Palestinian Islamic charity in the U.S. It was designated as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” and shut down by the U.S. government. Its leadership was convicted for raising money for the designated terrorist group, Hamas. Just like the Jerusalem Fund, HLF’s mission was to provide humanitarian assistance to needy Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. But HLF was proven to be a funding source for Hamas whose avowed purpose is to destroy Israel. The Hamas charter advocates violent jihad as the only solution. The charter identifies Hamas as Muslim Brotherhood.
A 1979 report “Anti-Israel Influences in American Churches” referred to “Dr. Hisham Sharabi, president of the National Association of Arab Americans, who has been publicly criticized by moderate Arab-American leaders for his defense of Palestinian terrorist tactics.” A former student also noted Sharabi’s support of “radical Palestinian terror groups.”
“In the face of relentless Israeli force, the only weapon the helpless and desperate have is to fling their bodies against the beast. Suicide bombings are no longer the lone act of desperate fanatics, but have become a conscious weapon of resistance and war. The culture of death and self-sacrifice is spreading in many Arab and Muslim countries.”
Of course when you consider Sharabi’s affiliation with WISE and Sami al-Arian of Palestinian Islamic Jihad notoriety, it all makes more sense.
The Jerusalem Fund and BDS
In a January 2013 “Palestine Note”video interview, JF’s Munayyer discusses his support for BDS. While he is disappointed that BDS has not yet been adopted by world governments, being blocked for now by the U.S. at the UN Security Council, Munayyer resigns himself to accepting BDS initiatives from non-state actors. As he says, “while BDS is not the most efficient way, BDS is the only option people have left.”
Sounds eerily similar to the justification given for why Palestinian suicide bombers blow themselves up in civilian settings like the Sbarro pizza restaurant and why the terrorists are subsequently glorified by their media.
Why does the leadership of the Jerusalem Fund promote BDS? Because the end goal of the BDS movement is to end Israel as a Jewish state. And destroying Israel means destroying Jews. Same objective as the “radical Palestinian terror groups” Sharabi is reported to have supported. Just a different means.
Law school professor William Jacobson explains, “BDS should being seen for the anti-Semitic movement it is, a movement that demonizes only the Jewish State, holds only the Jewish State to the highest standards no one else meets (certainly not in the Middle East), and seeks the destruction only of the sole Jewish State in a sea of Islamic States.”
Former Jerusalem Fund Palestine Fellow, and Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abuminah is a virulently hateful anti-Israel voice on the internet and on the speaking circuit, including college campuses. Abuminah served as Vice-President on the board of the Arab American Action Network, a controversial anti-Israel organization founded by Rashid Khalidi and his wife who coincidentally are friendly with the Obamas.
Sharabi, Ali, Munayyer, Abuminah and their fellow Israel haters well understood that the Palestinian suicide bombers of the second intifada in 2000 laid the foundation for the BDS assault on Israel’s legitimacy and right to exist.
When news first broke and questions were raised about Samar Ali’s hiring, ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty told the June session of First Tuesday that Subhi Ali called him and asked him to look at Samar’s resume, which includes work done on behalf of the Jerusalem Fund. Sounds like Haggerty knows Subhi Ali and his family pretty well. Makes you wonder whether Haggerty agrees with their politics?
Subhi Ali has chosen to align himself with and lead an organization that has committed itself to a course of action which at its core, is intended to destroy the State of Israel.
Politics may make strange bedfellows, but you always have a choice about who you wake up to in the morning.
“Kurdistan, the safest and most prosperous region of Iraq. But for years, the country harbored a secret. Many of its women have been cut in the name of religion. Few in the outside world knew that female genital mutilation existed here until a charity launched a campaign with the help of local filmmakers to tell women’s stories.”
The documentary addresses the social, cultural, and religious beliefs that support the practice of FGM. The film pointedly asks whether “enough is being done to end the practice in Kurdistan” since only very recently have steps been taken to halt this savage, dehumanizing practice.
Studies by the Human Rights Ministry of Iraqi Kurdistan, WADI (a German-Iraqi human and women’s rights organization) put the numbers anywhere from 40.7% – 57% of girls that have been mutilated. A more recent and larger study conducted in the city of Erbil found a self-reported incidence of 70% but a lower 58.6% upon examination but nonetheless concluded that “[p]revalence of female genital mutilation among Muslim Kurdish women in Erbil city is very high.”
Women interviewed for a 2010 Human Rights report on FGM in Kurdistan gave the following reasons for FGM:
It is linked to Kurdish cultural identity [of tribal honor/shame]
It is a religious imperative [a practice permitted by Islam]
It is necessary to control women’s sexuality; and
It is carried out as a result of social pressure [of Islamic mores]
The report notes that while FGM is not addressed in the Quran [but is in Hadith or the traditions of Mohammed], some interpretations of Islamic law followed by the majority of Iraqi Kurds, makes FGM permissible for girls. The report includes reference to a hadith that “mentions the Prophet Muhammad telling a woman who had been circumcising girls ‘to cut only a little’ thus, according to these clerics, Mohammed did not ban the practice and FGM is permitted.
Although FGM was banned in 2011, Human Rights Watch reported one year later that the Kurdistan Regional Government had done nothing to enforce the law. More recently though, there have been reports that awareness raising campaigns are having a positive impact.
FGM in Tennessee
The “Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 1996” was introduced by Democrats Sen. Thelma Harper and Rep. Lois DeBerry (deceased). Their bill stated the following reasons about why Tennessee needed a bill to protect women from the FGM assault:
“WHEREAS, female genital mutilation is defended by both men and women in the cultures where it is practiced as a rite of passage and a social prerequisite of marriage as well as a method to control a woman’s sexuality; and
WHEREAS, while female genital mutilation is prevalent in many African and Middle Eastern countries, it also is found in some Asian countries and among immigrant populations in Western Europe and North America; and
WHEREAS, due to the immigration of people from countries where female genital mutilation is practiced, the mutilation has continued to take place in the United States. Usually the immigrants will either send their daughters back to the native country to have female genital mutilation performed or a group of them will pay to bring a midwife to the United States to perform the painful procedure on their young daughters…”
The “immigrants” referenced in the preamble to the legislation filed by the Democrats were most likely correlated to the influx of refugees being brought to Tennessee by the refugee resettlement federal contractors.
Despite being a crime in Tennessee since 1996, 21 cases of FGM in Tennessee were reported last year. Legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly last year now requires that healthcare providers report cases of FGM to law enforcement.
We hope word has spread to Catholic Charities and the other refugee resettlement agencies as well as Nashville’s “Little Kurdistan” and that the local Muslims are aware and speaking out against this barbaric sexual mutilation, helping their community learn that some customs are better left behind in the old country.
Is it the “brains have fallen out” syndrome? Or is it denial due to cowardice?
Nope. It’s all about feeling good about yourself! Consider the acceptance and endorsement of Islamist activist Remziya Suleyman by liberal-socialist-progressives, the media, and ignorant dhimmis of Muslim interfaith diaolgue. They love her for her moral egotism. With full conviction and 100% certainty, she separates the wheat from the chaff and uses the “hater” or “Islamophobe” label.
Jewish and Christian apologists like Rabbi Mark Schiftan, Baptist Robert Parham and media propagandist Bob Smietana (former religion reporter for The Tennessean), identify with Suleyman’s self-professed moral superiority because they believe it is their strongest trait as well.
As Jonah Goldberg points out in “Liberal Fascism” – “They [liberals] do this because it is what liberals do – liberals identify the bad guys and call them things like fascist [or hater or Islamophobe in this case], “based on no other criteria than that liberals think they are bad.”
This group of progressives agree that the Islamophobia fiction should be used to silence even Constitutionally protected speech about the political ideology of Islamists. They eagerly concede one of the greatest hallmarks of freedom – the freedom to put offensive and distasteful ideas into the public domain (even if it is the truth).
Schiftan, Parham and Smietana and all others who side with the oppressors, hear this – watchmen on the wall will not be silenced.
This past September, Hamas-linked-CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) hosted self-styled “human rights activists” to speak at the University of Arizona. Gay-mocking Remziya Suleyman from Tennessee and Hizballah-legitimizing Hassan Shibly (CAIR-Tampa) were among the speakers:
Ms. Suleyman told her same old embellished story of how she organized all the Muslims in Tennessee to beat back alleged anti-sharia legislation. Bet she didn’t bother to tell her audience that it was actually an anti-terrorism/material support bill based on the killings perpetrated by Muslim convert Carlos Bledsoe.
Bet she also didn’t bother to explain to her audience that she is the one who equated anti-terrorism and material support with being sharia!
Bet she also didn’t tell her audience that before she started her pro-sharia campaign she admitted that “she never knew the concept of sharia…” In fact, she continues to remind us how little she knows about her own doctrine as she continues to promote the idea that anything violent or negative associated with Muslims and Islam is simply “culture” because it is not taught in the Quran. So how about those verses in the Quran that make wife beating sacred?
She could have gotten the low-down on this from Murfreesboro mosque Muslim Brotherhood speaker, Jamal Badawi who says it’s OK as long as it’s never on the face.
Surely Suleyman knows that Muslims could not practice their Islam without the Hadith and Sira. After all, isn’t Mohammed the example that all Muslims are supposed to emulate? Does she ignore the Hadith because that’s where it tells her that women have to sit in the back of the mosque?
Is that like being forced to sit at the back of the bus?
CAIR Arizona conference...
Hassan Shibly said, that “Muslims have more civil liberties in America than they do in any ‘so-called Muslim countries.’”
Is that because Muslims living in America don’t actually know their doctrine? Or could it be because countries like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran have constitutions norm-referenced to sharia law? Maybe Shibly was thinking about the shara-centric Cairo Declaration of Human Rights and not the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the U.S. signed onto.
Or is Shibly simply being disingenuous about his doctrine in pursuit of the political objectives he and his organization CAIR are pursuing?
Then why are these Islamic sharia-adherent “civil rights activists” trying to impose the same sharia driven oppression that the “so-called Muslim countries” suffer under? They say that their fight for Muslim’s religious freedom is no different than when blacks fought for their civil rights. One big difference though is that the rights Suleyman and Shibly claim they are fighting for will ultimately take away rights from everyone else.
Imam Zaid Shakir, an adviser and regular speaker at CAIR events is also a repeat visitor to Nashville. Last year, Imam Mohamed Ahmed from the Muslim Brotherhood owned Islamic Center of Nashville invited Shakir to speak to the students.
One point Shakir reminds his listeners about is that under Islamic law “the kafir won’t be equal with the Muslim. The Christian or the Jew will be a dhimmi. They won’t be equal with the Muslim.” He was quoted in the New York Times as saying that “he still hoped that one day the United States would be a Muslim country ruled by Islamic law.”
Religious freedom in the U.S. is based on the freedom to believe or not to believe, to practice one’s religion or not. And to peacefully coexist. Memphis Imam Yasir Qadhi who helped Suleyman launch her organization calls Christians filthy.
Suleyman should also go back and listen to her colleague Sabina Mohyuddin refer to the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) as one of the “…organizations that help American Muslims stay true to their religious values while being uniquely American.” Along with Al-Ahazar University, FCNA was one of the organizations that authenticated the English translation of the “Reliance of the Traveller, The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law.”
Newsletter #86 provides several examples found in this book and also details some of the FCNA members that have been arrested, deported and named as unindicted co-conspirators in connection with terrorist activities. All are connected in some manner to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The “religious freedom” being pedaled by CAIR promoters Suleyman and Shibly goes something like this:
Kosher for Jews means they don’t eat pork; halal for us means no one eats pork.
Real civil rights activists should be appalled.
Deliberate omission is deceitful. It is intended to evade telling the whole story, the truth.
Bob Smietana – Imagine if former Tennessean newspaper (non) reporter Bob Smietana would take off his apologist lenses before writing about the Islamist agenda. Distorting facts to write a fiction of persecution is unethical and a disservice to the public.
Ad hominem should never substitute for objective, fact-based reporting. As with anything Smietana writes on this topic, all Islamists and their supporters are virtuous; naysayers are contemptuous bigoted Islamophobes.
Even when Smietana writes about CAIR, he can’t bring himself to acknowledge the 2009 holding that “[t]he Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF [Holy Land Foundation], the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas”.
Hedy Weinberg – Imagine if the Director of the TN-ACLU had admitted in her 2011 testimony at the Tennessee legislature, that all the issues she alleged as problems had already been resolved in 2010 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled them Constitutionally sound.
Imagine if Weinberg advocated for the religious rights of Christian students the same as she does for Muslim students? Take for example, the 2011 lawsuit filed against the Sumner County school district because of alleged Christian-centric activities. Part of the settlement agreement prohibited the Sumner County schools from taking field trips to religious sites. Except Weinberg didn’t object when Sumner County violated the settlement agreement this year by taking students to a Hindu temple and a mosque where they received free Qurans.
Her 2013 Students’ Rights Conference, with plenty of Islamist representation, was a reflection of Weinberg’s own conservative paranoia. How ironic that a conference including LGBTQ Equality, also included speaker Kasar Abdullah whose sister Jihan, was out and about making fun of gays!
Remziya Suleyman – raises money for her organization American Center for Outreach (ACO) based on an embellished and distorted story about Islamist persecution in Tennessee. The one documented truthful statement she has made is her admission to knowing nothing about Shariah law. Of course that has not stopped her from demonizing anyone who objects to its insertion into American public life. Without this platform, her fundraising would be flat.
It doesn’t appear that she ever addressed the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood Memorandum before bringing CAIR’s Dawud Walid to train Muslim students. What about her work with and support for CAIR? Doesn’t it matter to her that CAIR is connected to Hamas?
Our wish for 2014: try telling the whole story; honesty is good for the soul .