(PHOENIX, AZ, 2/24/09) – The Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) today called on one of that state’s senators to invite Muslim representatives to offer a balancing perspective to a screening of an anti-Islam film he is hosting in Congress.
On Thursday, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) will host a closed-door screening of a 15-minute film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders. Wilders was recently denied entry to Britain because of his extreme anti-Muslim views, including urging that the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, should be banned. One of the event’s co-sponsors, the Center for Security Policy headed by Frank Gaffney, is linked to an anti-Islam group that has advocated prison terms in the U.S. for “adherence to Islam.”
SEE: US Lawmaker Hosts Anti-Islamic Dutch Lawmaker (AP)
“It seems that Senator Kyl is oblivious to the fact that there are Muslims in his own state who will take offense at this cheap anti-Islam publicity stunt designed to promote a person who is under indictment for inciting religious hatred,” said CAIR-AZ Executive Director Ahmad Daniels. “Geert Wilders is just one of many self-promoting Islamophobes traveling the world in search of attention for their hate-filled views. We ask that Americans of all faiths ignore Mr. Wilders, thereby depriving him of the attention he so desperately seeks. Wilders has the right to spew his hate, but he does not have the right to a taxpayer-funded platform in the United States Congress.”
Daniels urged Sen. Kyl to join the ongoing efforts to end partisan politics in Congress and to reach out to the Islamic world by inviting speakers with a differing viewpoint to that of Wilders.
He added that, following a request by CAIR’s Los Angeles chapter, a California synagogue that screened a film claiming “confrontation between Islam and the Jews” agreed to invite a Muslim representative who could offer a balancing perspective of interfaith understanding.
He said CAIR’s Tampa chapter also called on a local synagogue to invite a representative of the Muslim community who could offer a balancing perspective to a controversial speaker who claims wearing an Islamic head scarf, or hijab, is related to the “growth of terrorism.”
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance 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-AZ Executive Director Ahmad Daniels, 602-312-2223, 602-262-2247, CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 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