From Republican contender John McCain’s Jul. 25 meeting with the Dalai Lama in Aspen, Colorado to Democratic candidate Barack Obama’s visit to Jerusalem’s Western Wall the same day, the intersection of religion, politics and the “war on terror” has been a recurrent theme in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
While many evangelical Christians have vocally supported the George W. Bush administration’s policies, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, other religious faiths have been at the forefront of both anti-war activism and less visible humanitarian work. . .
One religious group in the U.S. had a much more difficult problem than any other — Muslims. They faced intense discrimination, and even physical violence in some cases, in the U.S. in the immediate days and weeks after Sep. 11, 2001 — and this has persisted until today.
“Our position was that the [Iraq] war was based on faulty reasons; the other problem is with how the war has moved on,” said Ahmed Rehab, media relations director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). “We don’t have a solution [to the war on terror], and we don’t say we have a solution; we just want Muslims civil rights to be respected.”
Although almost seven years has passed since the attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, Rehab said that, “Unfortunately, there are still many people who don’t fully understand us. That emotional intensity that many Americans had is mostly gone, but now these people [anti-Muslim propagandists] get their message out in different ways, such as the Internet.”
CAIR is a “civil rights organisation, not a religious organisation, but many of our members are observant Muslims,” explained Rehab. CAIR does interfaith work, “because we believe that the Muslim religion is a misunderstood one. So if we need to work with other religions to get the word out that we are a peaceful people, that’s what we will do,” said Rehab. (MORE)