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CAIR-LA: ‘A Mighty Heart’ Screening a Success


(ANAHEIM, CA, 6/27/07) – Some 300 people of diverse faiths turned out last Thursday for a screening and panel discussion of “A Mighty Heart” hosted by the Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA), Progressive Christians Uniting (PCU) and Paramount Vantage.

The movie portrays the intense search for and subsequent horrific murder of Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, as told by his wife Mariane Pearl. Based on Mariane Pearl’s memoir, the movie was made by “The Road to Guantanamo” Director Michael Winterbottom and stars Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie and Dan Futterman.

The evening was meant to celebrate Daniel Pearl’s commitment to global truth and understanding. In a discussion following the exclusive screening at Paramount Studios, four panelists shared their thoughts behind Mariane Pearl’s vision for peace and tolerance, and how that vision can be furthered by people of faith – Christians, Jews, Muslims, and those of other beliefs.

“It is important to reiterate that Muslims all around the world condemned the horrific murder of Daniel Pearl. . .and it pains me to see that there are criminals out there who misuse the name of Islam to justify violent acts against innocent people,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush, addressing the packed theater. “We need to use this film and the tragedy depicted in this film to spread the message that we need more dialogue, and end the culture of violence, the culture of bombs, the culture of occupation, the culture of torture.”

Reverend Peter Laarman, executive director of Progressive Christians Uniting, agreed. “I think there is a need for people to respond in real time to canards, to slurs and to sweeping generalizations,” he said.

Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, a board member with Progressive Jewish Alliance and co-founder of, also spoke about increasing dialogue and bridge-building. “I want to commend CAIR for the courage it took to undertake this evening,” Beliak said.

The Pakistani Consul General in Los Angeles, Syed Ibne Abbas, attended Thursday’s program. He gave a short speech in which he expressed sorrow for Daniel Pearl’s murder and stated that the Pakistani government had tried everything it could to save his life.

“Some misguided people are using the religion of Islam, a religion that believes in compassion and peace,” said the consul general. “I am not a preacher but I can say with all confidence that, in the Quran, it says, “Killing one innocent person is tantamount to killing the whole humanity.””

To watch the entire panel discussion, go to

CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Coordinator Munira Syeda, Tel: (714) 776-1847, Email:


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