(BOSTON, MA, 6/14/19) -- The Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, released a statement of solidarity signed by more than a dozen of the largest mosques and Muslim organizations in Massachusetts. The letter is a response to an attempt to discredit CAIR-MA during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
SEE: Muslim, Jewish groups bicker over Muslim event at Statehouse
The statement (included below) describes CAIR-MA’s annual Eid event at the Massachusetts State House, and an article attempting to delegitimize the organization. Most prominently, the article featured quotes by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Boston labeling CAIR-MA as an “inappropriate partner for ourselves and for the mainstream community.” The letter lays out the mosque leadership’s shared concerns and disappointment, along with their hope for more productive engagement moving forward.
“It is not the JCRC’s place to certify who is an ‘appropriate’ partner from among the Muslim community in our engagement with elected officials,” said John Robbins, Executive Director of CAIR-Massachusetts. “We hope that this broad show of support from the Muslim community establishes that definitively.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, which for over 25 years has been defending American Muslims against hate crimes, harassment, workplace discrimination, and other faith-based crimes. The Massachusetts chapter routinely receives over 250 calls for assistance each year, in cases including youth bullying, sexual assault, and tenant abuse.
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, 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.
CONTACT: CAIR-MA Executive Director, John Robbins, 617-862-9159, firstname.lastname@example.org
Muslim Community Statement of Solidarity with CAIR-Massachusetts
In the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful,
We, the signed mosques and Muslim organizations in Massachusetts, write to affirm our solidarity with the Council on American-Islamic Relations – Massachusetts following an attempt to discredit the organization.
Last week, the Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) co-sponsored a celebration of Eid al-Fitr for legislators at the Massachusetts State House along with several state representatives. The event was non-political and non-advocacy-related: it consisted of a table of homemade desserts and an opportunity to learn about the holiday. CAIR-MA had co-sponsored the event in prior years.
However, this year several local organizations, most prominently the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, elected to contribute to an article about the event which made strong accusations against CAIR-Massachusetts. The JCRC labeled CAIR-MA “an inappropriate partner for ourselves and for the mainstream community” and an “inappropriate actor” that is being “unnecessarily mainstreamed.”
The article is all the more hurtful to us because it was released directly on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which follows the holy month of Ramadan.
CAIR is the leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in our community, and the Massachusetts chapter has supported our congregants when they have experienced hate crimes, discrimination at work, youth bullying, and assault. They have taken the lead in representing us at the State House and with elected officials, as well as in interfaith settings. They have our full support, and we strongly encourage lawmakers to continue to partner with them on this and other efforts in years to come.
During these times of rising hate crimes against both the Muslim and Jewish communities, we need to stand strong together. Each of our mosques, and CAIR-Massachusetts, have on countless occasions stood in meaningful solidarity with the Jewish community. We write from a position of deep affinity with our Jewish neighbors.
Given the JCRC’s longstanding record of professing the value of interfaith engagement and meaningful partnerships, we are disappointed that they elected to attempt to delegitimize one of our leading organizations as it conducts much-needed outreach to elected officials. We hope that in the future the JCRC will reconsider their alignment in engaging with the Muslim community leadership.
The American Muslim Center (Everett)
The Islamic Center of Boston – Wayland
The Islamic Center of New England – Quincy
The Islamic Center of New England – Sharon
The Islamic Council of New England
Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) - Cambridge
Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISB/CC) - Roxbury
The Islamic Society of Greater Haverhill
The Islamic Society of Greater Lowell
The Islamic Society of the North Shore
The Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts
The Mosque for the Praising of Allah
The Outreach Community and Reform Center of Malden
The Worcester Islamic Center