(MIAMI, FL, 2/12/2016) – The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida), the state’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, today applauded the successful completion of the 2016 Florida Muslim Capitol Day (FMCD).
More than 200 Florida Muslim community leaders, businessmen and women, and students participated in the eighth Florida Muslim Capitol Day event this past Thursday at the State Capitol. This year’s event was co-sponsored and prepared in close collaboration with EMERGE USA, another key American Muslim organization.
Attendees of the event were honored by a personal welcome from Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum on the Wednesday evening before the event at the Islamic Center of Tallahassee. The mayor’s words were inspiring as he applauded the Muslim community’s participation in this civic engagement event that stressed the importance of political involvement in a political climate that is, unfortunately, filled with xenophobic rhetoric.
During the event, State Senator Dwight Bullard addressed the participants and the media at the capitol’s precinct. He openly criticized Donald Trump’s distasteful, anti-Muslim hate rhetoric. The senator highlighted that: “We’ve had a presence of Muslims in America, an interwoven part of the American tapestry, since the 1700s.”
Two main concerns of the Muslim community were addressed in face-to-face meetings between the participants and their legislators. CAIR-Florida remains troubled about the legislature’s willingness to support an anti-democratic bill, SB 86/HB 527, which would punish businesses for their constitutionally-protected free speech rights to boycott human rights concerns in Israel and Palestine.
This bill would set a very dangerous precedent that is not befitting a democracy. The second important issue, Representative Ray’s anti-refugee Bill, HB 1095/SB 1712, does not take into account that Syrian refugees are the most scrutinized individuals that enter the United States, that only the federal government has the authority to establish immigration policy, and that profiling law-abiding individuals in the United States based on their ethnic origin, which is something his bill encourages, is un-American and makes our communities less safe.
“Our community’s civic engagement is badly needed as we face bills that directly affect us all and it is up to us to stand vigilant against bigotry, xenophobia and anything curtailing our precious civil rights, including our First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech,” said Laila Abdelaziz, CAIR-Florida’s legislative and government affair’s director. Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, CAIR-Florida’s communications director said, “Xenophobia is just a part of the Muslim experience in America. I truly hope that our community remains engaged in the political process whatever the outcome of this election season.”
CAIR Florida’s mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties of all people, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CAIR Florida’s Communications Director, Wilfredo A. Ruiz, firstname.lastname@example.org , 305.502.6749
CAIR Florida’s Legislative and Government Affairs Director, Laila Abdelaziz, email@example.com , 352.361.1808