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American Mosque Response to Freedom House Report

Summary: Freedom House published a report titled Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques (hereinafter referred to as Report) concluding that hateful indoctrinations emanating from Saudi publications are dominant in American mosques.

If this were to be accurate, it would be of grave concern for the Muslim community. Islam advocates dialogue and preaches freedom of conscience. Any speech that incites hatred and sows discord in a community is unequivocally repudiated and rejected. Therefore we decided to launch an investigation into the veracity of Freedom House’s alarming conclusions.

After a review of the Report, background of its contributors, careful scrutiny of its citations, and interviews with leaders of the mosques cited by the Report, the following conclusions were reached:

Ӣ The Report uses a very small, unrepresentative sample to draw stereotypical and encompassing conclusions.

Ӣ The Report is authored by people who have in the past exhibited a lack of understanding of Islam.

Ӣ The Report uses translations provided by an institution that is known for selectivity and bias towards Arabs and Muslims.

Ӣ The Report taints a whole community about their alleged hate, without conducting any survey of the community or speaking to their leaders.

”¢ The Report charges the Muslim community with being indoctrinated by hate, yet the Report’s own selectivity and hasty generalizations could lead to more hateful attitudes toward the Muslim community.

”¢ The Report seems to be politically motivated. The second release of the Report, which has the title Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Invade American Mosques, has a disclaimer that reads, “We have made no determination that [the] mosques endorsed any of these material cited n this report, or were aware of their presence.” Yet, the Report contradicts itself by making emphatic claims that the literature represents a main source of indoctrination in the mosques. The Report even claims that Muslims “have requested our help in exposing Saudi extremism in the hope of freeing their communities from ideological strangulation.”

We disagree with the Report’s broad-brush generalizations and selective presentation of material that constitutes an insignificant amount in the larger Islamic educational material available at American mosques.

We agree that several of the quotes cited in the Report are indeed hateful. We repudiate them unequivocally. Such hateful messages contradict the spirit of Islam, which stresses dialogue and moderation. Additionally, we as community organizations pledge to work with our membership to continue our efforts to promote an accurate understanding of Islam based on our faith’s stance in favor of moderation, tolerance, and dialogue.

The remainder of this document is divided as follows: Section 1 reviews the background of the contributors to the Report. Section 2 contrasts the Report findings with documented evidence from American mosques. Section 3 evaluates the relevance of the publications cited in the Report. Section 4 suggests a holistic approach to combating hate.


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