Press Releases

CAIR Calls on Virginia Town to End Police Blockade of Muslim Business in Time for End-of-Hajj Holiday

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/20/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy and civil rights organization, today called on the Town of Warrenton, Va., to end a police blockade of a Muslim-owned business so that the Muslim community in that area may carry out obligations associated with a major religious holiday that begins on Tuesday.

In a letter to Warrenton Town Manager Brannon Godfrey, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote in part:

“I respectfully request that the Town of Warrenton lift the current police blockade of the USDA-certified Lebanese Butchers facility so that those celebrating the end of the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) may carry out their constitutionally-protected religious obligations for the Eid ul-Adha (”˜festival of the sacrifice’) holiday beginning Tuesday, August 21.

“[NOTE: Eid ul-Adha, commonly referred to as just ”˜Eid,’ is the largest Muslim holiday and commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command. The holiday is celebrated with the prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings.]

“As you know, there has been a blockade preventing customers from entering the site since Saturday. This blockade will not only do irreparable harm to Lebanese Butchers, it will also impact the hundreds of Muslim families seeking to fulfill their religious obligations, the police officers who would have been paid by the facility’s owners to direct traffic on the holiday and the local businesses that would benefit from increased customer traffic.

“The town’s last-minute denial of the special event permit for this annual event, which has taken place without incident for the past 25 years, should be lifted while any concerns the town may have are worked out in good faith between all parties.

“From a public safety perspective, it would be safer to have the customers directed onto the site by officers – just as in past years — as opposed to simply blocking the entrance, thereby causing confusion and potential accidents on Route 29.

“Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this important matter, which is of concern not only to the business owners, but also to the entire Muslim community in Northern Virginia.

The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

Earlier this year, CAIR released its 2018 Civil Rights Report, “Targeted,” which showed a 17 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents against American Muslims from 2016 to 2017, and a 15 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in that same time period.

SEE: 2018 Civil Rights Report: Targeted

http://www.islamophobia.org/reports/224-2018-civil-rights-report-targeted.html

Community members are being urged to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by going to: https://www.cair.com/report

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

END

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Manager Naaz Modan, 202-748-4319, nmodan@cair.com

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