Muslims seek removal of U.S. official in Iraq

Muslims seek removal of U.S. official in Iraq

A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on the Bush administration to remove an American official supervising the hiring of translators in Iraq because of offensive anti-Arab remarks he made to an Independent Television News (ITN) reporter.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) quoted an ITN report broadcast yesterday on PBS’s NewsHour in which a hiring administrator, after slamming the door in the face of an Iraqi applicant, said: “Guiding these local Arabs around is like herding cats...herding cats into closets…except the cats don’t complain as much.”

Go to: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/newshour_index.html (Click on “realaudio” under “The New Iraq”) or
http://audio.pbs.org:8080/ramgen/newshour/expansion/2003/05/07/baghdad.rm?altplay=baghdad.rm
(The quote comes at 5:15 into the report, which begins at 4:28).

“If our goal is to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and present a positive image of America, this is the wrong person for the job. He should be removed and replaced with someone who does not harbor bigoted views toward the population,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.

“Americans sent to work in Iraq should be sensitive to the plight of a traumatized population and aware of the religion and culture of the community they are serving,” Awad added.

CAIR is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 16 regional offices nationwide and in Canada. Since its founding in 1994, CAIR has defended the civil and religious rights of all Americans.


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