On Thursday, March 25, 2004, Long Island interfaith leaders held a news conference to refute Islamophobic accusations made recently by Rep. Peter King (R-NY).
King claimed in a number of media interviews that “85 percent” of America’s mosques are controlled by “extremists” and that Muslims have done nothing to aid law enforcement authorities in the war on terror. He also referred to Muslim leaders as an “enemy living amongst us.”
Interfaith leaders at the press conference described King’s claims as the dehumanization of an entire community of Americans and called for better interfaith understanding and dialogue. They also urged elected officials to join their interfaith coalition against King’s Islamophobic remarks.
In its statement, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) demanded that King turn over evidence to support his allegations and questioned why he had refused several requests to meet with the members of the community.
“Mr. King is clearly trying to sell a book and has decided these statements will give much needed attention this endeavor,” said Firdaus Abdul-Munim, civil rights coordinator for CAIR-NY. “We, the Muslim community of New York, are extremely disappointed in this behavior by one of our elected officials and question the veracity of Mr. King’s allegations.”
Media Contact: Ghazi Khankan, (516) 729-8754 or (516) 335-6611(pager).