While controversy reached the boiling point surrounding Newsweek’s now-retracted report that U.S. interrogators purportedly desecrated a copy of the Koran, the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington was hosting an audience of 300 for its “Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism: Causes and Remedies” conference. Chief reason for the conference — attended by U.S. government officials, scholars and religious leaders alike — was to discuss the “twin phenomena” of growing anti-Muslim “bigotry” in the West and increasing anti-American sentiments in the Islamic world, which grew worse after Newsweek’s accusations. Yesterday, meanwhile, a campaign was started by the council to offer free Korans to Americans “as an attempt to turn a negative incident into something more positive,” says CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “It is our belief that greater access to Islam’s holy book will help foster a better appreciation and understanding of Islam by ordinary Americans,” he says.


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