(TAMPA, FL 4/7/2014) — The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) today called on that state's Republican Party leadership to reject anti-Muslim events and legislation promoted by party members statewide.
CAIR-FL expressed concern about a disturbing trendÂ of local GOP organizations hosting extremist anti-Muslim speakers to promote fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims. This trend has led to GOP Senator Alan Hays supporting legislation, such as SB 386 and SB 864, intended to marginalize the American Muslim and other minority communities.
In a letter sent to GOP leadership today, CAIR-FLÂ Chief Executive Director Hassan Shibly wrote in part:
“I am asking you to stand against actions taken by certain GOP members and clubs clearly designed to marginalize the American Muslim community and result in unconstitutional laws that harm our state and serve to undermine the long-term credibility of the Republican Party.
“Our office has documented a pattern of local GOP organizations inviting extremist anti-Muslim speakers who promote fear and hatred of the entire Muslim faith and community, often under the pretense of targeting 'radicals.'
“One of the most recent such events was advertised by the Lake County Republicans using the following description: 'If you believe that Islam is just another religion (and not a threat to America and the world)… then you especially need to hear this presentation.'
“This fear-mongering of Islam and American Muslims is leading to anti-Muslim legislation in Tallahassee that is both useless and that will harm our state.
“If you remain silent while party organizations invite Islamophobic speakers and GOP legislators support bills driven by anti-Muslim bias, your party risks alienating one of the fastest growing groups of American voters.
“Florida now has 150,000 registered Muslim voters. The GOP cannot afford to continue to alienate a minority growing in influence, especially in a key swing state such as Florida.”
CAIR-FL is calling on the state GOP to take immediate action and stop the “Legislative Bullying of Florida Muslims and other Minorities.” The civil rights group said the silence of the Florida GOP leadership is enabling and encouraging anti-Muslim xenophobia and bullying of Muslims and other minorities statewide.
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:Â CAIR-FL Chief Executive Director Hassan Shibly, 813-541-4321, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,Â email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, firstname.lastname@example.org