(PHOENIX, AZ, 5/2/06) – The Arizona office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) reported today that several young Muslim women were verbally abused by two people who said they recently saw the movie “United 93” about one of the planes hijacked on 9/11.
The three Muslim women say a white middle-aged couple approached them on April 29 at the Desert Ridge Marketplace in Scottsdale, Ariz., and asked whether they were Muslim. After learning that the women were in fact Muslims, the couple indicated they had seen “United 93” and then said: “Take off your f***ing burqas and get the f*** out of this country. We don’t want you in this country. Go home.” [Note: Two of the three women are American-born citizens.]
“The couple’s verbal abuse had obviously been prompted by their associating all Muslims with those who took part in the 9/11 terror attacks,” said CAIR-AZ Office Manager Bushra Khan, who was one of those accosted by the couple. “The best way to prevent this type of stereotyping and intolerance is to educate ordinary Americans of all faiths about Islam and Muslims.”
Khan said CAIR launched several post-9/11 educational campaigns to promote mutual understanding. CAIR’s campaigns included a “Not in the Name of Islam” public service announcement rejecting terrorism and religious extremism, the “Explore the Quran” campaign offering free copies of Islam’s revealed text to Americans of all faiths, the
“Explore the Life of Muhammad” initiative, which offers free DVDs and books about the life and legacy of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, and the recently concluded “Explore Islamic Civilization and Culture” campaign that distributed materials about Islam to more than 8,000 public libraries nationwide.
A recent CAIR survey showed that just two percent of Americans said they were “very knowledgeable” about Islam. Some 60 percent of respondents said they “are not very knowledgeable” or “not at all knowledgeable” about Islam.
A similar poll by the Washington Post and ABC News found that one in four Americans “admitted to harboring prejudice toward Muslims.” That survey indicated that 46 percent of Americans have a negative view of Islam. The Post’s report on the poll findings quoted experts who say negative attitudes about Islam are “fueled in part by political statements and media reports that focus almost solely on the actions of Muslim extremists.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 32 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
CONTACT: Bushra Khan, 602-262-2247, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.