The Republican challenger to three-term Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky said
Monday he's distrusted Islam "for years" and supports the federal
government planting human monitors in mosques to track the activity of
those practicing the religion there.
Kurt Eckhardt's comments brought swift criticism from Schakowsky and Muslim
groups, who described his remarks as inaccurate and dangerous.
"This feeds the cycle of misunderstanding, feeds the cycle of prejudice,
feeds the cycle of hate crimes," said Yaser Tabbara, executive director of
the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Tabbara's organization, North America's largest Islamic civil rights group,
is working to promote the mainstream Muslim voice, which does not condone
"We are unequivocally opposed to terrorism," he said. "Our religion does
not condone it in any way…"
Eckhardt said terrorist acts were not "aberrational behavior" by a few
extreme Muslims but possibly part of a broader culture.
"Where is the voice of reason in the Islamic community?" Eckhardt said.
"There is none, except in nations we control."
Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, said terrorism or calls to violence were
"not at all" inherent in Islam.
"Going in with the suspicion that every mosque is somehow a breeding ground
for terrorism defies all the information," she said...
CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Yaser Tabbara, 312-718-3725, 312-212-1520, E-Mail: