(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/20/08) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today applauded remarks by former Secretary of State Colin Powell repudiating Islamophobia in political campaigns.
In an appearance yesterday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Powell said in part:
“I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, ‘Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’ Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, ‘He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.’ This is not the way we should be doing it in America.”
SEE: ‘Meet the Press’ Transcript for Oct. 19, 2008
Click here to watch the video.
“We applaud Mr. Powell for stating so eloquently and forcefully what should have been said long ago by public officials and candidates for elected office,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “His statement gives hope to American Muslims who have been disheartened by rising levels of anti-Muslim bigotry in this election cycle.”
Last week, CAIR noted the increasing religious and ethnic bias in political campaigns and called on Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama to repudiate anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bias during the final presidential debate.
SEE: Muslim Group Asks Candidates to Reject Islamophobia in Debate
As examples of that bias, CAIR cited a recent controversy over Sen. McCain’s declaration that his opponent is a “decent guy” after a campaign rally participant called Sen. Obama an “Arab.” The Washington-based group also noted the false claim that the Illinois senator is a Muslim and an incident in which Muslim women wearing Islamic headscarves were barred from an Obama rally photo opportunity in Michigan.
CAIR said American Muslims are particularly concerned about the recent distribution, possibly funded by a foreign entity, of 28 million anti-Muslim DVDs to voters in presidential swing states nationwide.
In September, CAIR released its annual report on the status of American Muslim civil rights. That report, called “Without Fear of Discrimination,” outlined 2,652 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2007.
To view the entire report, click here.
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.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org