(BIRMINGHAM, AL, 10/14/2016) â€“ The Alabama chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Alabama) today welcomed Gurley, Ala., Mayor Robert Sentellâ€™s decision to investigate Chief of Police Barry Pendegrafâ€™s September 23rd, and 27th Facebook posts referring to â€˜â€™Bacon Greased Covered Bullets.â€ CAIR-Alabama said it appreciates the mayorâ€™s timely response and sincere efforts to resolve Muslim concerns.
After speaking with a representative of CAIR-Alabama, the mayor acknowledged the concerns and implication of Chief Pendegrafâ€™s posts.
CAIR-Alabama said in a statement: â€œWe are prepared to take the Chief Pendegraf's explanation that he was referring to reloading and not to killing Muslims. However, absent an explanation in his Facebook post, the inevitable conclusion one could draw would be otherwise. As a former member of the North Alabama â€˜anti-terrorism task force,â€™ we hope he would be more careful in the future. Irrespective of the intent the post might be taken as an invitation to attack Muslims.â€
â€œWe had a positive discussion in which the mayorâ€™s office agreed that Chief Pendegrafâ€™s posts could cause offense and place minorities in danger. Most people reading the posts viewed them as anti-Muslim hatred, which unfortunately has been a very real issue with very real consequences for the Muslim community,â€ said CAIR-Alabama Executive Director Khaula Hadeed.
She added: â€œAt a time of increased attacks and incidents of hate against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim nationwide, we believe it is essential that public service staff and officers are adequately trained and are able to serve the community fairly and justly without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, or religion. Sentiments that appear to single out particular communities make us all less safe.â€
CAIR-Alabama and the mayorâ€™s office agreed to hold diversity training for the department to prevent future incidents of this type. Moreover, CAIR-Alabama agreed to arrange a meeting and a possible visit to an area mosque to increase understanding.Â
Earlier today, CAIRâ€™s national office called on state and federal law enforcement authorities nationwide to offer stepped-up protection for mosques and other Islamic institutions following the arrest of three â€œmilitiaâ€ members who allegedly planned to attack a Kansas mosque and hate incidents targeting mosques in New Jersey and Michigan.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, fomentar el diÃ¡logo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR-Alabama Executive Director Khaula Hadeed, 205-313-6489, or 334-224-2196 kHadeed@cair.com