Bring Islam to your local Library
CAIR today launched a major educational initiative designed to counter the rising tide of anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society. We are urging Muslims to defend their faith during these difficult times by sponsoring a "library package" of objective materials about Islam.
The year-long campaign, called "Explore Islamic Civilization and Culture," encourages Muslim individuals, mosques and Islamic organizations to sponsor 18-item packages of books, videos and audio cassettes about Islam and Muslims, which will then be distributed to as many as 16,000 public libraries nationwide. (A pilot program by CAIR's Los Angeles office placed more than 2,500 books and videos in 166 libraries.)
The $150 library packages contain materials such as the PBS documentary "Islam: Empire of Faith," Prof. Jack Shaheen's "Reel Bad Arabs" and "The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?" by Prof. John Esposito of Georgetown University's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Other library package materials include a copy of the Quran, Islam's revealed text, children's books on Ramadan and mosque architecture, as well as a book describing the experiences of African-Muslim slaves brought to America.
Each item in the package was selected based on the quality of its content, published reviews and the recommendations of Muslim scholars. (See the complete list of library package materials below, or go to: http://www.libraryproject.org)
"The lack of timely and accurate books about Islam in public libraries is a serious issue nationwide. The resulting knowledge gap leads to increased misunderstanding of Islam and produces unnecessary divisions between people of faith. It's important that Americans know what Islam stands for - and it's not terrorism," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
Awad said Muslim communities and individuals will identify local libraries for sponsorship by visiting CAIR's library project web site, http://www.libraryproject.org, or by calling 1-800-392-7876, ext. 20. After the sponsor fills out and submits the necessary forms on the web site, the library is informed of the intention to donate the library package. Materials are then shipped to the library by Astrolabe Islamic Media (http://www.astrolabepictures.com). A confirmation letter is sent to the sponsor indicating that the library package has been sent.
To illustrate the kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric that prompted the CAIR campaign, Awad cited Christian evangelist Franklin Graham's claims that terrorism is part of "mainstream" Islam and that the Quran, Islam's revealed text, "preaches violence." Graham also called Islam an "evil and wicked religion." Other conservative and evangelical commentators such as Jerry Vines, Pat Robertson, Paul Weyrich, William Lind, Ann Coulter, and Chuck Colson have echoed Graham's Islamophobic smears.
1) Go to http://www.libraryproject.org to access CAIR's database of libraries in your area. Where it says "I'm ready to do my part," click on "Sponsor." (If you do not have access to the Internet or prefer to talk to a customer service representative, call 1-800-392-7876, ext. 20.)
2) Select the library or libraries you would like to sponsor. (Fractional sponsorships are available.)
3) Fill out and submit the sponsorship form.
4) Once your sponsored libraries receive their packages, make sure to inform friends, relatives and colleagues about the materials so they may check them out. (Libraries will only keep materials in circulation if they are being used.)