(BIRMINGHAM, AL, 1/11/2018) — More than 20 Alabama Muslim organizations sent a letter yesterday to newly-elected Senator Doug Jones congratulating him and inviting him to visit a mosque to meet with members of the Muslim community and better understand that part of his constituency.
Alabama Muslims have asked U.S. Sen. Doug Jones to visit a mosque and meet with them to discuss their concerns.
Muslims are Alabama’s largest religious minority, with a diverse racial and ethnic base including African-Americans, South-Asians, Arab-Americans, and people of North African heritage. On December 12, 2017, along with hundreds of thousands of others, Alabama Muslims turned out to vote in the Special Senate Election.
“The Muslim community in Alabama enters the new year with great hope and optimism. We expect a return to the politics of dignity, fairness, respect, and mutual understanding,” said Khaula Hadeed, CAIR-Alabama executive director. “We invite Senator Jones to visit a mosque, to meet with Alabamian Muslims, and to learn about their faith and about the Muslim constituents he will serve as an elected official.
“During this special election, Muslims weathered a relentless onslaught of political attacks, with one candidate claiming Islam was not a real religion and that Muslims should be banned from serving in the military or Congress,” said Ali Massoud, CAIR-Alabama government affairs coordinator. “It is our hope that Senator Jones does not forget this vulnerable part of his constituency and that he will work with Muslims to promote policies of inclusivity and justice for all marginalized groups.”
In the joint letter, the coalition groups said:
“We, the undersigned community and civil society organizations, congratulate you on being our newly elected Senator. We further wish to invite you to meet with your Muslim constituents. American Muslims are the most racially and ethnically diverse religious group in the nation. Approximately half of Alabama Muslims are African-American. In the state, the largest Muslim populations reside in Jefferson, Madison, Montgomery, and Mobile counties.
“Thousands of Alabama’s Muslims contribute to our state’s economy as doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs and other business people, and give back to society every single day as public school teachers, law enforcement officials, active duty military personnel, U.S. military veterans, nurses, pharmacists, and in many other roles building our nation’s vibrant economy. These upstanding American Muslims exemplify the best of the United States.
“As citizens of the state, Alabama Muslims were particularly concerned and fearful on December 12th, 2017. These past two years have been especially hard on Muslim families, with parents struggling to find and instill a sense of belonging in their children amidst growing animosity from many quarters towards our faith and our community.
“Anti-Muslim rhetoric has been adopted by many misguided candidates aspiring for political office in our state. A prime example was your opponent, Roy Moore, who represented the depths to which religious-based bigotry can sink. He was unabashed in his defamation of everyday Islamic practices, which inspire thousands of the state’s Muslims to be good citizens and contribute to our local communities as volunteers in fire departments, PTAs, food banks and many other organizations. As just one example, inspired by Islamic teachings of serving God by serving humanity, Muslim doctors in Alabama are running free clinics to assist those most affected by lack, or loss, of health insurance.
“Alabama Muslim voters share our country’s strong family values. They are dedicated to raising and educating their children to be good neighbors and productive citizens. They will support candidates who act on the belief that Muslim Americans deserve the same opportunities as all Americans to build better futures for our families and children and deserve to be treated with the dignity, fairness, and respect we all expect. The government cannot be permitted to make new rules banning one religion or singling out one group for discrimination based on how they pray.
“In light of all this, we are sure you understand that our community views your election with much optimism.
“A great step in vindicating that optimism would be for your constituents to meet and build relationships with you, learn about you and your work, share their views as American Muslims, discuss issues that impact their lives every day, and get your commitment to actively and vocally affirm American values of inclusiveness and religious freedom.”
Letter co-signers include the following mosques, civil rights and professional organizations, student associations, and Islamic groups.
- Alabama Islamic Education Center, Huntsville
- Anniston Islamic Center
- Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America, Alabama Chapter
- Auburn Islamic Center
- Birmingham Interfaith Human Rights Committee
- Birmingham Islamic Society
- Birmingham Muslim Youth Group
- Birmingham Southern College Muslim Student Association
- East Montgomery Islamic Society
- Gadsden Islamic Center
- Huntsville Islamic Center
- Iqra Math and Science Academy
- Islamic Academy of Huntsville
- Islamic Center of Decatur
- Islamic Foundation of Selma Alabama
- Muslim Girls of Birmingham
- North Alabama Islamic Society
- Salam Free Clinic
- University of Alabama at Birmingham Muslim Student Association
- University of South Alabama Muslim Student Association
Last year, after Roy Moore’s (Republican Candidate for Special Senate Election 2017) anti-Muslim and anti-Islam comments, including calling Islam a “false religion,” CAIR-Alabama invited him to visit a mosque and area Muslim leadership to better understand his constituency. The invitation went without a response.
Alabamian Muslims in the previous two years have sent delegations to the Capitol in efforts to engage and to better educate our state’s representatives. Such engagement efforts have fostered greater mutual respect and understanding.
See high resolution pictures here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskYY1BXN
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.