(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 6/6/19) -- The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Philadelphia), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, and coalition partners today launched a digital campaign to encourage the US Army War College to reconsider its decision to invite notorious Islamophobe Raymond Ibrahim to deliver a lecture in its prestigious 50th Annual Lecture Series on June 19, 2019.
Campaign Website: https://act.mpowerchange.org/sign/ibrahim/
SEE: Army War College under fire over historian's upcoming lecture on 'clash of civilizations' between Islam and the West
CAIR-Philadelphia sent a letter to the College on May 28, listing its concerns regarding a lecture by Ibrahim. The college has not responded to this letter. The letter can be viewed on CAIR-Philadelphia’s webpage.
CAIR-Philadelphia offered to provide the college with a pool of academic and military experts who could provide a more balanced and informed perspective at the lecture series.
The civil rights organization’s outreach to the college came after Muslims and interfaith groups from the Harrisburg area and other locations contacted CAIR-Philadelphia to express their shock that the US Army War College would host Ibrahim for a lecture.
Dr. Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu, Education and Outreach Director for CAIR-Philadelphia, whose research focuses on Islam in the Western hemisphere, said, “As an intellectual community, the college should be at the forefront of promoting informed public debate. It should not become a vessel of promoting bigotry. The College should not tarnish its reputation with this invitation.”
Ibrahim’s writing advances a discredited theory known as the “Clash of Civilizations,” and argues that “Islam and the West” have been engaged in centuries-long war. The lecture is titled after Ibrahim’s 2018 book Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West. The book promotes the unsubstantiated thesis that Islam, since its beginning, has “terrorized the West.”
Tekelioglu added: “CAIR-Philadelphia and its allies reject this inaccurate and bigoted viewpoint and express their concerns that such a prestigious institution as the US Army War College should not be giving a platform to a viewpoint that can easily cause prejudice among military serviceman and servicewomen against Islam and Muslims."
Some quotes from Raymond Ibrahim that disparage Muslims and present a flawed history include:
• "According to classic, mainstream Islamic teaching, the Islamic world is supposed to be at perpetual war with the non-Muslim world until the former subsumes the latter...In short, the hate for Christians and other non-Muslims, including secularists/atheists in the West, did not begin with ISIS, al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Sharia, Boko Haram, or Al Shabaab. It began with Muhammad and his companions, 1,400 years ago.” [https://www.meforum.org/5195/ibrahim-interview-christians]
• "Islam is a belief system, which is meant to guide virtually every aspect of its follower’s life. It is entirely built on the purported teachings of a seventh century Arab—who for all accounts acted like a seventh century Arab, meaning tribal and uncivilized. Obviously, if this man was a false prophet—a liar—which is the default, non-Muslim position, then it should be unsurprising that the entire worldview his followers follow, which is tribal and uncivilized, is creating a constant clash with other civilizations." [http://www.linformale.eu/truth-must-be-acknowledged-an-interview-with-raymond-ibrahim/]
The digital campaign hosted by MPower Change, and supported by CAIR-Philadelphia, About Face, and Community Responders Network encourages concerned citizens of all faiths to sign a petition urging Commandant Major General John S. Kim and Provost Dr. James G. Breckenridge to drop Ibrahim from the lecture series and denounce Islamophobia.
CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender said: “The theories advanced by Mr. Ibrahim are largely discredited in American universities. Every day, the so-called “Clash of Civilizations” thesis is proven false by the interfaith friendships being built around the country between American Muslims, Christians, Jews, and people of other faiths and backgrounds. The US Army War College is an academic institution run on taxpayer funds. Mr. Ibrahim’s presence is not only unacceptable, it is also poised to exacerbate long-standing problems such as racism and human rights violations that exist within the US military.”
Ann Van Dyke and Aaysha Noor, with the Community Responders Network (CRN), a grassroots coalition working to prevent and respond to a wide variety of bias in South Central Pennsylvania, said on behalf of CRN:
"Groups like ISIS/ISIL are violent distortions of Islam. Just as the Ku Klux Klan, which claims to be the only true Christians, is a violent distortion of Christianity. Raymond Ibrahim's characterization that ISIS's terrorism represents Islam in its truest form is factually inaccurate and promotes hatred against Muslims who are simply going about their everyday lives as peaceful productive citizens."
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
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CONTACT: CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender, 267-515-6711, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-Philadelphia Outreach and Education Director Ahmet Tekelioglu, 617-401-5397 (cell); email@example.com; Ann Van Dyke; Community Responders Network, 717-585-0488