(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 1/9/14) -- The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philly) is calling on a college in that state to repudiate the extremist anti-Muslim rhetoric of a scheduled speaker.
In a letter to Mark Volk, president of Lackawanna College in Scranton, Penn., CAIR-Philly Executive Director Jacob Bender expressed "the Muslim community's deep concern and dismay at the decision of Lackawanna College and the Jewish Discovery Center to sponsor and promote a public lecture at Lackawanna College by Mordechai Kedar this coming Sunday January 12."
Bender's letter noted that "Mr. Kedar has been known to make extremely racially charged remarks about Islam and Muslims on several occasions. For instance, on a video posted on YouTube, Mr. Kedar tells a news reporter, "it is very important that European countries start making babies ... or else Europe will turn into an Islamic country ... He falsely stated that Muslims believe Imam Khomeini of Iran to be infallible and that Muslims believe that Christianity and Judaism are both 'finished.' ... Mr. Kedar is even on the board of an organization headed by anti-Muslim extremist Pamela Geller."
The letter also stated: "While CAIR in particular, and the Muslim community in general, strongly support the First Amendment right of free speech, in a pluralistic society in which healthy community relations are a necessity, racially bigoted speakers such as Mr. Kedar do little to diffuse confusion about religious minorities and educate the public in an honest and credible manner.
"We are disappointed to see the JDC and Lackawanna College engaging in promoting hatred and bigotry against a religious minority. We urge you to distance yourself from the racist comments of your featured speaker, Mordechai Kedar, to clearly state your condemnation of his bigotry, and join with many other organizations in finding ways to bring about peace and harmony among all people."
Bender's letter suggested that the college provide the community with another, less biased view of Islam and Muslims.
CAIR recently published a major report, "Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States," which identifies 37 organizations dedicated to promoting the type of anti-Islam prejudice that can lead to bias-motivated incidents targeting American Muslims.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: Council on American-Islamic Relations Philadelphia Chapter, 215-592-0509, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-PA Executive Director Jacob Bender, 917-660-3805, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, email@example.com