Religious Leaders Challenging Anti-Muslim Rhetoric, Violence
By Robert Marus, ABP, 8/30/10
WASHINGTON (ABP) -- Against a background of mounting anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence, Baptist and other religious leaders spoke out Aug. 30 against Islamophobia and urged federal officials to take a more proactive role in safeguarding Muslims' civil rights.
A group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders held a press conference at a Washington church denouncing the rhetoric and attacks – including a suspicous Aug. 28 fire at the construction site of a mosque that has stirred significant controversy in Murfreesboro, Tenn.; the Aug. 24 attempted murder of a Muslim taxi driver in New York; and a conservative Florida church's plans to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11 as an anti-Islamic protest.
"We're shifting from fear to fear-mongering, from misunderstanding to misinformation, from legitimate speech to hate speech to hate violence" said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, in the conference at Washington's Western Presbyterian Church. The church was chosen as the setting for the briefing partially because its sanctuary hosts Friday prayer services for Muslim students at the adjacent George Washington University campus. (More)