(ANAHEIM, CA, 1/26/10) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on the California Republican Party to repudiate anti-Islam comments posted on Facebook by a Republican member of the Lancaster, Calif., city council.
CAIR-LA also sent a letter to the councilwoman asking her to meet with members of the American Muslim and interfaith communities to discuss the negative impact of the inflammatory remarks.
In her recent Facebook post, Council Member Sherry Marquez wrote in reference to a murder trial in New York involving a Muslim defendant:
“This is what the Muslim religion is all about — the beheadings, honor killings are just the beginning of what is to come in the USA. We are told this is a small majority [sic] of Muslim’s [sic] in America, but it is truly what they are all about…You disrespect/dishonor them or their religion and you should die (they don’t even blink at killing their own wives/daughters, because they are justified by their religion)…”
In another Facebook post, Marquez claimed that “Obama is a Muslim.” Her post links to a YouTube video titled “Obama Admits He is a Muslim.”
Marquez is a director of the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly.
In a letter sent to the Councilwoman on Monday, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush wrote in part:
“The incident you reference in your Facebook post involves the murder of Aasiya Zubair Hassan…At the heart of this case is the very serious issue of domestic violence.Domestic violence is committed by individuals of all nationalities, religions, cultures, economic classes, ages and races…What you refer to as ‘honor killings’ are an aberrant practice not sanctioned by the Qur’an or permitted under the Islamic legal framework of Shari’ah. Islam does not permit a man to murder his wife for any reason…To attempt to tie this gruesome and tragic murder to Islam without any direct link places blame on that faith for an action that would be clearly and categorically condemned within an Islamic legal framework.”
Ayloush said in a statement: “Councilwoman Marquez is free to hold uninformed and bigoted views about Islam and Muslims, but responsible leaders of the California Republican Party should repudiate such hate-filled remarks as unbecoming of an elected official in our state. We ask Councilwoman Marquez to meet with representatives of the Muslim and interfaith community to discuss the negative impact her stereotypical and offensive remarks could have on the lives of ordinary Muslims and to mitigate the damage to the image of the city of Lancaster and to the Muslim community.”
He noted that at the same time the New York case was in the news, a Texas former minister was convicted of smothering his wife to death with a pillow and faking her suicide note so he could be with his mistress. Prosecutors also opened their case against Scott Roeder, the man accused of killing one of the nation’s few late-term-abortion doctors.
“It is wrong to blame any faith for individual criminal acts that violate that religion’s basic teachings,” said Ayloush.
In the last week alone, CAIR offices in California and Ohio sponsored educational events addressing the issue of domestic violence awareness in the Muslim community. The CAIR programs in Cincinnati and San Diego included speakers addressing the issue of domestic violence and abuse from the perspective of Islamic religious teachings, the psychological effects on victims, the effects on children, and services available to victims.
Ayloush said there is a link between Islamophobic rhetoric and anti-Muslim incidents. CAIR recently reported two cases of anti-Islam hate targeting the California Muslim community.
An official of the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County in Costa Mesa, Calif., reported that a burned copy of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, was found at the back entrance of the mosque during Friday prayers.
In Mission Viejo, Calif., vandals defaced the Muslim component of an interfaith holiday display. A piece of paper stuck to the display stated: “No Islamic Lighthouses in the U.S.A.”
SEE PHOTOS: Interfaith Holiday Display Vandalized in Mission Viejo
Ayloush further noted that CAIR recently called on President Obama to address what it called an “alarming level of anti-Islam hate in our nation.” The organization’s letter to President Obama cited a number of recent anti-Muslim incidents, including a spate of vandalism cases at mosques nationwide.
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-Los Angeles Communications Manager Munira Syeda, 714-776-1847, 714-851-4851, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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