(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/30/09) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy organization today announced that it intends to distribute free copies of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, to 100,000 local, state and national leaders.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the “Share the Quran” campaign, which is designed to enhance understanding of Islam by opinion leaders and policymakers nationwide, was prompted by President Obama’s recent address to the Muslim world in which he quoted from the holy text.
SEE: Share the Quran
A correlation between increasing knowledge of Islam and decreasing anti-Muslim prejudice also provided motivation for CAIR’s new initiative. According to CAIR public opinion surveys, only two percent of Americans say they are “very knowledgeable” about Islam, and almost 60 percent say they are “not very knowledgeable” or “not at all knowledgeable” about the faith.
The new educational effort is phase two of CAIR’s successful “Explore the Quran” campaign in which tens of thousands of Americans of all faiths requested and received Qurans.
CAIR is asking American Muslims to sponsor the distribution of the Qurans to governors, state attorney generals, educators, law enforcement officials, state and national legislators, local elected and public officials, media professionals, and other local or national leaders who shape public opinion or determine policy.
One of the sponsors will be selected to send a gift Quran to President Obama. That selection will be made at CAIR’s booth at the national convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) on July 5th in Washington, D.C.
“The long-term goal of the campaign is to put one million Qurans in the hands of ordinary Americans of all faiths over the next ten years,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
He said “Share the Quran” materials will be made available to Islamic centers and mosques nationwide for distribution at events such as open houses or public Ramadan fast-breaking meals.
The high-quality volumes of the Quran distributed in CAIR’s “Share the Quran” campaign are published by the Book Foundation. They contain the original Arabic script, an English translation by Muhammad Asad, transliteration of the Arabic text, and notes on individual verses.
[American leaders wishing to request a sponsored Quran and American Muslims wishing to sponsor one or more Qurans should visit CAIR’s “Share the Quran” web site http://www.explorethequran.com/]
“By quoting from the Quran in his Cairo address, President Obama generated renewed interest in what Islam’s revealed text has to say on topics such as the sanctity of human life, justice and diversity,” said Awad. “This is not an effort to proselytize, but is instead intended to provide an educational resource for those who will shape the future direction of our nation.”
Awad said the Qurans sponsored by Muslims and delivered to American leaders will include a bookmark guide to the verses cited by the president and to references related to topics such as women’s rights, social justice, respect for other faiths, and similar issues related to international events.
He added that the “Share the Quran” campaign is part of CAIR’s celebration of its 15th anniversary. CAIR was founded in June of 1994.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com