CAIR condemns attacks on civilians
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, today condemned a bomb attack on a Passover celebration in the Middle East that left 20 people dead and more than 100 wounded.
In a statement, CAIR said:
“We condemn this attack and all other attacks on innocent civilians. Illegitimate and counterproductive tactics must not be used in the legitimate struggle to end Israel’s brutal occupation.
“This attack is of particular concern coming as it did during a religious observance in which the focus is remembrance of God.
“We ask the international community to similarly condemn actions by the Israeli armed forces that also target civilians and impose daily humiliation and suffering on an entire population through blockades, home demolitions, assassinations, indiscriminate shooting, torture, land confiscations and a wide variety of Apartheid-like and oppressive practices.
“To break this cycle of violence and counter-violence, all parties must focus on a political solution based on justice and equality, not force of arms.”
Florida Mosque attack result of anti-Muslim rhetoric
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, today said an attack Monday on a Florida mosque is likely the result of the current barrage of anti-Muslim rhetoric by right-wing commentators who paint Islam as a violent faith bent on world domination.
At 7:30 p.m. on Monday, a pick-up truck was driven into the front of the Islamic Center of Tallahassee. The man driving the truck, 51-year-old Charles D. Franklin of Tallahassee, was arrested and charged with burglary and criminal mischief. Authorities are treating the incident as a hate crime because of statements Franklin allegedly made after the attack.
A police news release issued today said Franklin was motivated by "hatred of Muslims" and told officers he could have blown up the mosque if he had put propane tanks on the front of his truck. He also said he tried to join the military in order to "kill Muslims." Associated Press also reported that a Bible wrapped in blue cloth was on the front seat of Franklin's truck.
Mosque officials told CAIR the damage to the mosque exceeds $3,000. The center had previously been vandalized on the night of September 11, 2001. CAIR is calling on local authorities to offer increased police protection for the mosque. The group has also established a fund to repair damage to the mosque.
"On a daily basis, our office receives reports of deeply offensive and defamatory attacks on Islam by right-wing commentators who go far beyond legitimate political or religious commentary to attack the faith of Islam. This constant drum-beat of vicious attacks will inevitably lead a small segment of the population to turn hate-filled words into violent deeds," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
"We urge opinion leaders and media professionals to publicly reject this type of hate speech. We also call on elected officials to avoid actions, such as recent 'fishing expedition' raids on Muslim homes and businesses in
Virginia and Georgia, that create a sense of fear in the Muslim community," added Awad.
Awad said the Middle East Forum's Daniel Pipes and author Steven Emerson are two of the worst purveyors of anti-Muslim hate. Pipes recently decried the teaching of Islamic history and beliefs in public schools. Muslims say Emerson, author of the new book "American Jihad," has a long history of defamatory attacks on their community and that his book is a prime example of deceptive anti-Muslim McCarthyism.
As some of the other numerous examples of recent Islamophobic rhetoric, Awad cited televangelist Pat Robertson's almost daily defamation of Islam, Franklin Graham's claim that Islam is a "very evil and wicked religion," Free Congress Foundation's William S. Lind's allegation that "there is no such thing as peaceful Islam," syndicated columnist Ann Coulter's call to invade Muslim countries and convert the populations to Christianity, and the "sarcastic" suggestion by an editor of the National Review that "nuking Mecca" would send a "signal" to Muslims. These statements have gone largely unchallenged by mainstream conservatives.
Just one day before the mosque attack, a columnist with the Charlotte Sun in Charlotte Harbor, Fla., wrote: "The American freedom of thought and speech -- which tolerates all religions -- infuriates devout
Muslims…About the only thing we can do is defend ourselves until Islam modernizes or self-destructs…"
Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, CAIR recorded more than 1800 anti-Muslim incidents nationwide, including a number of murders.
Muslims call raids "Fishing Expedition"
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, today said raids Wednesday on a number of Islamic institutions and homes in Virginia and Georgia were a "fishing expedition" that will only serve to intimidate law-abiding Muslim citizens.
In a statement issued at a packed Capitol Hill news conference, CAIR Governmental Affairs Director Jason Erb said: (Representatives of some 25 local, national and international media outlets attended the news conference.)
"The Muslim community is deeply concerned about what appears to be a fishing expedition by federal authorities using McCarthy-like tactics in a search for evidence of wrongdoing that does not exist.
"Unfortunately, investigators are well aware that in the current climate of fear and prejudice, few people will ask the tough questions about why these respected individuals and groups were targeted. Vague and unsubstantiated references to 'links' or 'ties' to infamous names and organizations should not be a substitute for credible evidence.
"As in past incidents targeting American Muslim institutions, no one is being given their day in court to confront accusers or refute allegations. Where then does one go to retrieve a reputation damaged by an irresponsible and out-of-control investigation?
"All Americans have a justifiable desire to feel secure in this time of international crisis. But security need not be gained by destroying the civil liberties and standards of due process that we all hold dear."
Groups represented at or endorsing today's news conference included CAIR, American Muslim Council, Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Institute, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Alliance in North
America, Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Muslim American Society.
U.S. Muslims condemn Church attack in Pakistan
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a prominent Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, today condemned a grenade attack on a Pakistani church that left five people dead, including two Americans.
In a statement, CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad said:
"We condemn this attack in the strongest terms possible and call for the apprehension of the perpetrators. It is not only an act of terrorism against innocent civilians, but is also an assault on the sanctity of a
house of worship. No political or religious cause could justify such horrifying violence."