Press Releases

ADL Issues Apology for ‘Shahada’ Comments

A prominent national Jewish advocacy group
has issued an apology for remarks in a news release that seemed to link the
Islamic declaration of faith, or “shahada,” with terrorism.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) made its apology yesterday in a news
release that stated: “(The ADL) is respectful of the Shahada, the Muslim
Declaration of Faith, which is expressed by millions of Muslims around the
world”¦It was never our intent to offend anyone and we apologize to those
who took offense.”

On Saturday, the Southern California office of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) demanded that the ADL apologize to
Muslims for “hate-filled Islamophobic rhetoric” distributed by one of its
California offices.

A news release distributed by the ADL’s Orange County/Long Beach Regional
Office referred to the Islamic declaration of faith, or shahada, as an
“expression of hate” that is “closely identified” with terrorism and is
“offensive to Jewish Students.”

The shahada, “There is no god but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of
God,” is the core Muslim belief in the oneness of God and is one of the
“five pillars” of Islam. No person can be a Muslim without believing in the
shahada.

The ADL made its original offensive statements in reference to a
controversy started by right-wing and pro-Israel groups over the decision
by Muslim students at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) to wear
stoles bearing the shahada at weekend graduation ceremonies. The stoles in
question also said in Arabic: “God, increase my knowledge.” Opponents
falsely claimed that the stoles are an expression of support for terrorism.

SEE:

“GRADUATION STOLE RAISES TENSIONS”
http://www.ocregister.com/ocr/2004/06/18/sections/local/local/article_139066.php

“UCI GRADUATION CONTROVERSY IS OVERBLOWN, MUSLIM STUDENTS SAY”
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/orange/la-me-stoles19jun19,1,1389155.story

“We hope this apology represents a change of heart on the part of the ADL
and will lead to a genuine attitude of respect and constructive
interaction,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. Ayloush said
his group would be willing to offer Islamic sensitivity training for ADL
staffers.

Just last month, unknown arsonists torched a UCI student display set up to
challenge the wall Israel is building on Palestinian land.

There are an estimated 600,000 Muslims in Southern California. CAIR,
America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in
Washington, D.C., and has 28 regional offices and chapters nationwide and
in Canada.

 

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