(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/5/13) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded federal officials who were heckled last night in Tennessee by an anti-Muslim “mob.”
At an event sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council, a large group of protesters heckled and interrupted speeches by Bill Killian, U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Tennessee, and by Kenneth Moore, FBI special agent in charge of the Eastern Tennessee District.
Despite interruptions, Killian's presentation covered the First and 14th amendments and what constitutes a hate crime. One attendee told the Tennessean newspaper she was afraid of other audience members because of their bigoted actions.
Anti-Muslim slurs heard before or during the event included “Islam is evil.” The U.S. attorney was called a “traitor” and “serpent” for speaking out against hate crimes targeting Muslims. Other hecklers shouted “communist,” “socialist” and “Muslim”Â at the officials and promoted the manufactured claim that “sharia,” or Islamic principles, is being imposed in America.
“We applaud the federal officials who, while defending First Amendment freedoms, stood up for the right of American Muslims to be free from bias-motivated attacks and intimidation,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “The mob mentality demonstrated at last night's event should be a wake-up call to all Americans who value religious tolerance.”
Hooper said last night's hate protest was organized by Pamela Geller, regarded by many as the nation's most notorious Islamophobe. She is head of the hate groups Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).
She is also the subject of a CAIR “Islamophobe profile” documenting the individuals and organizations involved in spreading anti-Muslim bias in the United States.
Earlier this week, a Texas man who threatened to blow up the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Tennessee pleaded guilty to a federal charge.
Just today, CAIR called for a hate crime probe of repeated vandalism at a Minnesota mosque.
CAIR recently urged similar probes of vandalism targeting mosques in Georgia and Texas.
CAIR also began distributing new safety and security guidelines to mosques and other Islamic institutions nationwide.
The new CAIR publication, “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety,” was produced in response to recent bias attacks, including a series of incidents last year targeting American Muslim institutions.
Community leaders may request a free copy of CAIR's “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety,” by going to: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html
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.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, firstname.lastname@example.org