(ORLANDO, FL, 4/27/2016) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations-Florida (CAIR-Florida), the state's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, today condemned a xenophobic alert sent out by the University of Central Florida (UCF) to their student and staff body via their UCF Emergency Alert mass messaging system earlier today at 3:50 p.m.
The alert read: *UCF ALERT* *UCF ALERT* POSSIBLE MIDDLE EASTERN GUN MAN/WOMAN IN UCF MAIN CAMPUS LIBRARY. AVOID THE AREA! (https://alert.ucf.edu/latest.php ) The uncorroborated alert was called off one hour later after it was found to be unsubstantiated.
“Students shouldn't bear the sole responsibility for creating a climate of tolerance and inclusion on campus but UCF Muslim students have made it a priority on their campus through multiple outreach projects not only for their fellow Knights but also for the faculty and staff. CAIR-Florida staff members were with UCF's Muslim Student Association (MSA) for a workshop on Islamophobia recently. “An insensitive alert like this leads to backlash and unravels the positive efforts these students are attempting to implement,” said Rasha Mubarak, CAIR-Florida Orlando Regional Coordinator.
CAIR-Florida calls on UCF authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the alleged originator of the alert. Parallel to this, CAIR-Florida demands that UCF's Emergency Services carefully review their policies and procedures for posting emergency alerts. While we recognize that a prompt alert is necessary to keep the student body and the rest of the community safe, it is extremely important they investigate how is it that they came up with a 'Middle Eastern origin' as part of the alleged suspect description. This type of irresponsible and insensitive action contributes to the xenophobic rhetoric that, in turn, translates into an unsafe and unhealthy environment for minority students. This defeats the many positive efforts consistently carried out by the student body and CAIR-Florida to fight against Islamophobia, racism, and discrimination.
CAIR-Florida is the state's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties of all people, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CAIR Florida's Communications Director, Wilfredo A. Ruiz, email@example.com, 305.502.6749
CAIR Florida's Orlando Regional Coordinator, Rasha Mubarak, firstname.lastname@example.org, 407.490.9407