(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/27/2008) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today applauded a segment on Tuesday’s ABC ‘Primetime’ that highlighted both the Islamophobic attitudes present in American society and the support ordinary citizens of all faiths will offer to those targeted by bias.
To test Islamophobic attitudes, ABC outfitted a Texas bakery with hidden cameras and had actors play a female customer wearing an Islamic head scarf, or hijab, and a sales clerk who refused to serve her. The actor playing the clerk also used anti-Muslim slurs. [Primetime’s “What Would You Do?” segments seek to find out how ordinary people react when faced with “sticky” situations.]
SEE THE VIDEO: Encountering Prejudice (ABC)
One customer who supported the woman wearing the head scarf said, “Sir, we are not buying our kolaches because you are really offensive and disgusting.” Another said: “I believe I am a good American. My son just came back from serving in the army for over a year in Iraq and that has nothing to do with her rights. I am deeply offended by this.”
A customer who refused to help the woman in hijab said, “I really think that a person who owns his own business should be able to say who they sell to.” Another customer said, “She wasn’t dressed right,” and, “If I was running the place I’d do the same thing.”
Ultimately, more people defended the Muslim woman than supported the abusive clerk.
SEE: Witness to Discrimination: What Would You Do? (ABC)
An article on the ABC website also helped to dispel common misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.
SEE: Common Misunderstandings About Muslims (ABC)
“We thank ABC for tackling this sensitive subject in a manner that demonstrates the existence of Islamophobic attitudes in our society and at the same time shows the kindness and sense of justice exhibited by ordinary Americans of all faiths,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
Awad noted that CAIR assisted ABC during the research phase of the project. He also called on American Muslims and other people of conscience to contact the network to express their appreciation for the segment and to counterbalance the anti-Muslim bigots who are attacking it on Internet hate sites.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, 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.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Strategic Communications Director Ahmed Rehab, 202-870-0166, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com