Muslim leaders urged followers in the Southeast on Friday to try to dispel misconceptions about Islam.
"Take advantage of any opportunity to let people have firsthand experience with Islam and with Muslims," said Souheil Ghannouchi, president of the Muslim American Society. He spoke at the three-day "Living Islam in America" convention at the Atlanta Airport Hilton and Towers. About 1,000 people attended Friday.
The convention is sponsored by the Southeast region of the Islamic Circle of North America, made up largely of Muslims who live in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The region's president, Manzoor A. Khalid of Gwinnett County, said more Americans have associated Islam with terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks.
…Khalid said the government has unfairly targeted Muslims in its investigation, citing FBI interviews with about 5,000 Arabs and the prolonged detention of hundreds of Middle Eastern immigrants for reasons
authorities will not divulge…
…He said Muslims should visit churches and synagogues, hold open houses at mosques and speak to civic groups. Khalid addressed the Roswell Kiwanis club last week. Ghannouchi agreed that Muslims should venture outside mosques and community centers to involve themselves in the larger community.
"I think the isolation has lasted much longer than it needs to," he said.
Gulf Arab leaders, worried that the West increasingly sees Arabs and Muslims as "evil," plan to launch a
multi-million-dollar media campaign to improve their peoples' image at a summit opening on Sunday.
The annual conference of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was expected to approve a plan to counter what it sees as a campaign of "hatred and enmity" towards Arabs and Muslims since the September 11 attacks on the United States, delegates said on Saturday.
Gulf governments have condemned the attacks, but decry what they see as Western media attempts to link Islam with terrorism.
"The campaign against Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, is itself a form of terrorism," Omani Foreign Minister Youssef bin Alawi bin Abdullah said on the eve of the two-day summit…
…A ministerial panel to implement the media blitz would be led by UAE Information Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zaid al Nahayan, who runs Abu Dhabi satellite television, one of the most prolific state-owned channels
in the Arab world.
It calls for setting up three satellite television channels -- in English, French and Spanish -- to woo public opinion in North America and Europe, which have seen a spate of hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims since the September attacks…
Nearly 30 people gathered Christmas Day in downtown Miami to protest the detention of 52 Muslim and Arab men at Krome Detention Center following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The men are being detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in connection with the federal government's terrorism investigations. The protestors are asking that the men be released and given 30 days to get their affairs in order before leaving the country. Dozens of South Florida Muslims have been detained and 500 questioned statewide, said Sofian Abdelaziz, director of the American Muslim Association of North America, which organized the protest in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Miami…
INS does not detain people based on nationality or race, but on immigration violations…
Elhaddad said he was born and raised in New York City and had Muslim friends who died in the attack on the World Trade Center. But the tragedy is no reason to persecute Muslims, he said.
"We have people in jail right now just because of their nationality and
religion," he said. "We have to wake up and see what's going on."