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CAIR-LA: Muslims to Visit Japanese-American Internment Camp

(ANAHEIM, CA, 4/15/08) – On Saturday, April 25, the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA), in cooperation with the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Nikkei for Civil Rights and Redress (NCRR), and JACL, will take a group of Muslims to attend the 40th Annual Pilgrimage to the former “Manzanar War Relocation Center” — one of 10 internment camps that held more than 10,000 innocent Japanese-American men, women, and children during World War II. Manzanar was the first camp to be established.

This year further marks the 21st anniversary of the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which granted an official apology and reparations to Japanese Americans interned, without due process, during WWII.

The daylong program will feature talks from camp survivors, their children and interfaith leaders and activists at the Manzanar cemetery. Keynote address will be delivered by Ron Wakabayashi, regional director for the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service. It will be followed by an interfaith prayer service involving Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and other faiths. Pilgrims will also learn Ondo dancing and enjoy a performance by UCLA Kyodo Taiko.

In the evening, the Manzanar at Dusk program will feature small group discussions with camp survivors, screening of Ken Burns’ film “Manzanar – Never Again,” and an opportunity for people to perform spoken word and make brief statements.

“The Japanese American internment was a particularly dark moment in our nation’s history and is a reminder of what can happen if we don’t speak out and assert our civil liberties,” said CAIR-CA President Masoud Nassimi.
Earlier this year, 40 high school students from Southern California participated in a series of cultural exchange to learn about the Islamic and Japanese cultures, with topics ranging from ethnic identity to civil rights activism. The program is the first of its kind in Southern California and serves to connect youth from the Japanese-American and American Muslim communities.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.

CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Manager Munira Syeda, Tel: 714-776-1847 or 714-851-4851, E-Mail:; CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra, Tel: 916-441-6269, E-Mail:


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