(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/31/07) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today said the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is getting increasingly “deceptive” in its ongoing smear campaign against the Washington-based group.
Earlier this week, CAIR sent an open letter to the ADL condemning past smears and asking the group to respond to specific questions.
SEE: An Open Letter from CAIR to the ADL
SEE ALSO: CAIR Says ADL Seeks to Hinder Legal Rights of U.S. Muslims
The ADL yesterday issued a news release including an image that falsely juxtaposes CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad with a Hezbollah flag. In fact, the photo was taken at a mass anti-occupation demonstration in the nation’s capitol attended by tens of thousands of people. The carrier of the flag had no connection to Awad, who was not even aware it was in the vicinity.
In a statement, CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed said:
“Apparently frustrated by the evidence of CAIR’s consistent and persistent record of condemning terrorism in all its forms, the ADL has turned to deceptive smear tactics as a last resort.
“The ADL avoided the issues raised in CAIR’s open letter by ‘releasing’ a photograph that has long been in circulation by Islamophobes.
“The photo shows CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad speaking from the stage at an anti-occupation demonstration organized by a popular anti-war coalition. The Hezbollah flag that the ADL took pains to point out was not carried by Awad nor the rally’s organizers, but by a member of the audience – a private citizen with no connection to Awad or CAIR.
“It is juvenile for the ADL to suggest that CAIR should be judged by the actions of a lone bystander with no affiliation to CAIR or its officers at a public rally attended by tens of thousands of Americans of all faiths.
“While CAIR has been forthcoming in explaining its positions, the ADL has yet to explain its own views on the killing of innocent civilians or address CAIR’s other questions.&rdquo
Ahmed repeated CAIR’s questions to the ADL:
1. Irshad Manji does not represent the mainstream American Muslim community. Her writings and views reflect a one-sided criticism of Islam, which lacks scholarship about the faith. She is not seen as a credible source for information about Islam. What was the motive behind and purpose of the ADL hosting such a personality?
2. Has the ADL ever issued a statement criticizing illegal settlement activities by Israel or condemning the results of Israel’s brutal occupation policies so well documented in President Carter’s book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”?
3. Why did the ADL not criticize Israel’s deliberate destruction of the civilian infrastructure in Lebanon or the killing of hundreds of Lebanese civilians using American weapons paid for with American taxpayer dollars?
4. Why, unlike CAIR, did the ADL not call for a cease-fire in Lebanon that would have prevented death and destruction on both sides?
CAIR has strong relationships with many in the Jewish community and with many American Jewish organizations that reject smear tactics and sincerely believe in and work to improve Jewish-Muslim relations.
Ahmed reiterated CAIR’s willingness to enter into dialogue with the ADL if the ADL answers specific questions about its own past attempts to disenfranchise American Muslims, disavows associations with Islamophobes, and issues a clear condemnation of Israeli policies that have caused the deaths of innocent Palestinians and subject millions to living under apartheid-like conditions.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices, chapters and affiliates 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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CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org