Muslims asked to offer help for victims of terrorist attacks
CAIR is calling on Muslims nationwide to offer whatever assistance they can to help the victims of today’s terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
Muslims in local communities should take the following IMMEDIATE ACTIONS:
CAIR asks community members to 1) REPORT INCIDENTS of anti-Muslim harassment or attacks (Report to the police and then to CAIR. See attached “Incident Report Form.”) and 2) ISSUE LOCAL STATEMENTS TO THE MEDIA (see below) condemning the attacks and offering condolences for the victims. It is also suggested that steps be taken to increase security around mosques and Islamic centers. (In the first few days following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma, Muslims reported more than 200 incidents of harassment, threats and actual violence. CAIR has already received reports of verbal harassment against Muslim women who wear head scarves.) Security precautions suggested by CAIR include:
SAMPLE PRESS STATEMENT: (Fill in appropriate information in bracketed items and send to local TV assignment editors, newspapers city editors, radio news directors, and wire service bureau news editors. Call local media outlets to obtain contact information.)
U.S. MUSLIMS CONDEMN TERRORIST ATTACKS
([CITY, STATE]- 9/11/2001) - Muslims in [CITY] today condemned the apparent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and offered condolences to the families of those who were killed or injured.
In a statement, local Muslim representatives said:
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.
“All members of the Muslim community are asked to offer whatever help they can to the victims and their families. Muslim medical professionals should go to the scenes of the attacks to offer aid and comfort to the victims. Muslim relief agencies should contact their counterparts to offer support in the recovery efforts. Individual Muslims should donate blood by contacting the local office of the Red Cross. They should also send donations to those relief agencies that are on the scene of the attacks.
“We further call on media professionals to exercise restraint and not draw premature conclusions as to who was responsible for the apparent attacks.”
Mosques asked to remain open for Jumah
The American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC) is calling on Mosques and Islamic Centers to remain open this Friday for Jumah prayers. A number of mosques nationwide have announced plans to close their doors because of security concerns. (The AMPCC consists of American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Council, Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Muslim Public Affairs Council.)
In its statement calling for Jumah prayers, the AMPCC said:
“The American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC), a coalition of national Muslim American organizations, has issued a call to all American Muslims, urging them to attend tomorrow the regular Friday congregational prayer. The leaders of AMPCC stressed that, in this time of national sorrow, Muslims should attend Friday prayer to pray for the victims of the terrorist act and for the nation.
“Dr. Maher Hathout, the chairman of AMPCC, stated that “we will not allow a few fanatics to intimidate Muslims from exercising their right as American citizens to pray.”
“AMPCC has also called upon John Ashcroft, the Attorney General of the United States, to provide to all Muslims attending Friday prayer the full protection of the law, and urges local law enforcement agencies to take all steps necessary to ensure their safety.”
Mosques urged to hold open houses
CAIR is calling on Mosques nationwide to hold open houses for people of other faiths in their local communities to help promote a better understanding of Islam and Muslims. A step-by-step guide to holding an open house is available on CAIR’s web site at: http://www.cair-net.org/downloads/aa311openhouse1.pdf
“Following the tragic events of September 11, and the anti-Muslim backlash that followed, it is clear that people of other faiths in this society are in need of accurate information about Islam, said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. Awad asked imams and mosque leaders to schedule an open house as soon as possible. (NOTE: Because of recent events, make sure to request proper security for the event from local police.)
STEPS NECESSARY TO HOLD A MOSQUE OPEN HOUSE
1. PREPARE the members of your local community by explaining the necessity of building a positive image of the mosque in the surrounding area. Let them know that experience of other communities has shown that a positive neighborhood image offers many benefits. Ask for input concerning the details of when and at what time the open house should be held. There are no hard and fast rules for such things.
2. INVITE local community leaders, clergy, law enforcement officials, activists, and government officials. Remember to invite the mayor, congressional representatives, the chief of police and members of the city council. These people should all receive written invitations. Follow up with a personal phone call. Letters are not enough.
3. PUBLICIZE the event by sending a well-written news release (see sample in kit) to the local media. You may also place paid advertisements in the local newspaper (see sample). Send the news release to the religion calendar editor, the city editor, the feature editor at the newspaper, and the “daybook” editor at the nearest bureau of the Associated Press. Send a release to the assignment editor at the local television stations. Also send copies to news directors at the local radio stations. Send announcements to local houses of worship. (see “Media Event Check List” in kit)
4. INFORM your guests of mosque etiquette before they arrive (see “Welcome to Our Mosque” brochure). This will make them feel at ease and avoid embarrassment. Be ready to answer questions about prayer, separation of men and women and other common issues.
5. CLEAN the mosque. The first impression is one that will last. Make sure bathrooms are spotless. Have a mosque clean up day prior to the open house. Consider touching up areas that need painting.
6. SET UP a reception area where guests can be received, told about mosque etiquette and served refreshments. Have greeters at the door to direct arriving guests. Have knowledgeable people conduct tours of the facility. Do not leave guests alone to wander about the mosque. Give each guest a nametag. Make sure sisters are available to make female guests feel welcome.
7. PROVIDE snacks and drinks to make your guests feel welcome. Serving a variety of ethnic dishes is an excellent introduction to the diversity of our community.
8. SELECT literature to be given to the guests. Do not push materials on guests. Let them select what they wish to read. (see “Islam in America - The Facts,” and “Q&A About Islam and American Muslims”)
9. POST signs at appropriate locations in the facility to help guests find their way around. Many of them have never been to a mosque before.
10. PRAY that your efforts will open the hearts of your guests.