(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/13/17) – Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) offered a keynote address today before local elected leaders and city staff at the National League of Cities’ (NLC) annual Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C. Awad spoke at an awards ceremony celebrating diversity and inclusion programs in six cities.
Awad’s address focused on the critical importance of diversity in American culture and politics, saying that “diversity has to be reflected from the bottom up so that the intersectional issues facing minorities are addressed.”
He also stated in prepared remarks:
“Our achievements should be measured by what we do to elevate our and other people’s conditions. There is no such thing as ”˜Western values’ or ”˜eastern values’ when it comes to the principles of rights, human dignity, justice, and equality. These are universal values. People rise when they adhere to them, and they fall when they abandon them. But no one owns them.”
Awad also outlined the diversity of the American Muslim community and the growing Islamophobia faced by that community:
“We’re not monolithic – we consist of people from every race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, and sexual orientation. What that means is that we have many layers of intersecting struggles. . .Hate crimes and acts of vandalism are at an all-time high. Mosques, schools, and cemeteries are being denied zoning permits. All of these are driven by propaganda and hate mongering, which is even resulting in legislation being pushed through at the state level to prevent Muslims from freely practicing their faith.
“I speak for many Muslim Americans when I say that we have been touched by the outpouring of support after last November’s election. . .That is the America that I believe in. And that’s the America we have to continue to build.”
Issues under discussion at this week’s NLC include economic development, technology and data use, the opioid crisis, sustainability and climate change, transportation, community relations and leadership development. Other speakers at the conference include David Shulkin, U.S. secretary for the Department of Veteran Affairs and Scott Pruitt, administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A full schedule is available at: http://ccc.nlc.org/schedule/
The NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.
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.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, fomentar el diÃ¡logo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html
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