(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/21/15) â€“ The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today added its voice to calls for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol.
While the controversy over the flag – which for many Americans is a symbol of racial hatred and oppression – has been raging for decades, that debate was reignited by the killing of nine worshipers at a historic Charleston, S.C., church.
Photographs have surfaced showing the man accused of killing the nine worshipers displaying the flag and using the number 88, which is neo-Nazi and white supremacist code for â€œHeil Hitler.â€
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Texas may reject a proposed design for specialized license plates that features the Confederate flag. In Mississippi, the Confederate flag is part of the official state flag.
In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
â€œThe Confederate flag has long been a symbol used by those promoting racial hatred and societal divisions. It is clearly of great symbolic value to Dylann Roof, the man who allegedly killed nine people at worship in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
â€œWe should not grant legitimacy to disingenuous claims that the flag is a symbol of â€˜heritage,â€™ not hate. It should be relegated to the dustbin of history along with the Nazi swastika, burning crosses and â€˜whites onlyâ€™ signs.
â€œRemoval of the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol, and from all other places of honor in our nation, would be a fitting memorial to those slain in one of Americaâ€™s deadliest acts of racist violence.
â€œWe join with all those Americans who say â€˜take down the flag.â€™â€
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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper,Â 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org