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Who Is Leading the Muslim Peace Movement? Millions of Muslims, That's Who

peaceBy Jack Jenkins, ThinkProgress

Although Ahmed no doubt felt alone at the hostile Heritage panel, she is but one of millions of Muslims who stand up for peace on a daily basis. In the United States, Muslims are actually disproportionately peace-loving when compared to the rest of the country: a 2011 Gallup survey found that American Muslims are significantly more likely than American Christians, Jews, Mormons, or Atheists to oppose attacks on civilians, regardless of whether they are enacted by military force or by a small group.

Unsurprisingly, Muslims and Muslim organizations have also repeatedly and passionately condemned acts of violence perpetrated by people who claim to be followers of Islam.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil liberties advocacy organization, regularly issues press releases in response to tragedies enacted by Muslims, and formally condemned Islamic terrorism years before the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York City (although, as CAIR points out, they also issued a statement condemning the "vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians" within hours of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center).

In recent years, CAIR and CAIR-affiliated groups have also issued statements condemning the Boko Haram kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls, publicly decried the tragic acts of the Boston bombers, and hosted peace rallies in Oklahoma and Boston, among many other actions.

CAIR is almost always joined by scores of other Muslims organizations such as the The Islamic Circle of North America, but American Muslims are about more than peaceful words. Local mosques and Muslims worship communities are frequently listed as part of faith-based coalitions to prevent gun violence, and Muslim community organizations such as the Inner-City Muslim Action Network in Chicago, Illinois, organize "Community Safe Zones" that use community organizing techniques to promote peace and prevent violence in troubled neighborhoods. Various American Muslim leaders are also frequently cited as champions of peaceful cooperation.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to congress, has been arrested for participating in peaceful protests meant to draw attention to the horrific plight of people in Darfur and immigration reform. Meanwhile, Eboo Patel, another American Muslim, founded the Interfaith Youth Core, an organization dedicated to making "interfaith cooperation a social norm" by bringing together religiously diverse groups of students to work on service projects all over the world. (Read the full article)

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