(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/16/05) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on Americans of all faiths to obtain and read the Quran after burned copies of Islam’s revealed text were found outside a Virginia mosque. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said worshippers at the Islamic Center of Blacksburg found a shopping bag filled with burned copies of the Quran in front of the mosque’s door on Saturday. Local police are treating the incident as a possible hate crime. A representative of CAIR’s Maryland and Virginia chapter (CAIR-MD/VA) contacted the FBI’s Roanoke office and has been assured that the possibility of a bias-related motive will be investigated. SEE: “Burned Texts Left at Islamic Center” http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/25529.html “A redoubled commitment to freedom of thought and religious diversity is the best response to the burning of any sacred text,” said CAIR-MD/VA Director of Civil Rights Shama Farooq.
“We ask people of good will in Virginia and throughout the nation to help promote interfaith understanding by obtaining and reading a Quran.” Farooq said that by reading a Quran, Americans will send the message that bigots do not represent our nation’s values. Following allegations that Guantanamo guards desecrated Islam’s holy text, CAIR launched a campaign, called “Explore the Quran,” designed to provide free Qurans to Americans of all faiths. Some 12,000 of people have already taken advantage of that offer. To obtain or sponsor a free Quran, go to: http://www.explorethequran.org/ For background on CAIR’s ‘Explore the Quran” campaign, see: USA Today: “Getting the Holy Word Out” http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2005-06-01-koran_x.htm ABC News: “Free Korans” http://www.cair-net.org/video/explorethequran.ram NPR: “Islamic Group Gives Away Free Qurans” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4702845
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
CONTACT: Shama Farooq, 301-343-2924 or 301-986-1900; Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org SEE ALSO: