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CAIR Applauds Va. Muslim Civic Engagement After Resignation of GOP Official

BobFitzsimmonds(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/7/14) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded the positive civic engagement of Virginia Muslims that led to the resignation of a Republican Party official who disparaged Muslim contributions to the United States.

CAIR said that Virginia Republican Party Treasurer Bob FitzSimmonds offered his resignation Wednesday after pressure from fellow Republicans and from leaders of that state's Muslim community who criticized his Facebook post, which asked, “Exactly what part of our nation's fabric was woven by Muslims?”

That post was a reaction to President Obama's statement marking the end of Ramadan and praising Muslims for helping to build “the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.” FitzSimmonds also posted: “What about Sikhs, Animists, and Jainists? Should we be thanking them too?”

CAIR called on the Republic Party of Virginia to repudiate the remarks and top officials of the state GOP urged FitzSimmonds to resign.

After FitzSimmonds' post was made public, leaders of the Virginia Muslim community engaged GOP officials on the issue and called on Muslim voters to contact party and elected officials. FitzSimmonds himself met Tuesday with members of the Muslim Association of Virginia.

“We thank all those in the Virginia Muslim community who worked so hard to make their voices heard through positive civic engagement,” said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw. “We also thank the Virginia Republican Party officials who spoke out against anti-Muslim bigotry.”

McCaw noted that a Kansas GOP official has sparked a similar controversy in that state by tweeting that “offending Muslims is the duty of any civilized person. Especially with a .45.”

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 Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw, 202-999-8292, rmccaw@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

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