In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/6/2007) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed remarks by several Republican presidential candidates repudiating threats made by fellow White House hopeful Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) to attack Islamic holy sites.
The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group also called on Tancredo to retract and apologize for remarks he made last week advocating threats to bomb the holy cities of Mecca and Medina as part of his proposed anti-terror policy.
SEE: Attacking Mecca Effective, Tancredo Says (AP)
SEE ALSO: Tancredo Defends Threat to Bomb Muslim Holy Sites (CNN)
In a statement issued today, CAIR said:
“The Republican candidates and the Department of State are correct in rejecting threatened attacks on Islamic holy sites as a deterrent to terrorists.
“Representative Tancredo’s extreme and counterproductive proposal to threaten Mecca and Medina fails any reasonable test for strategic viability. It only serves to further damage our nation’s interests and image in the Muslim world and will inevitably be used as rhetorical fodder by extremists.
“America’s relationship with Islam and Muslims worldwide will be a central issue for the administration of our next president, whoever that may be.
“We call on Representative Tancredo to retract his inflammatory statements and to apologize for fanning the flames of international mistrust and hostility. We also urge every other presidential candidate to state how her or his leadership would win back the international support, particularly in the Islamic world, that America has lost in recent years.”
During a Republican presidential debate in Iowa over the weekend, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson said, “I sincerely believe that bombing religious artifacts and religious holy sites would do nothing but unify 1 billion Muslims against us.”
After the debate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said the idea is “appalling.” Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) also said, “I wouldn’t follow that.”
SEE: GOP Candidates Go On Attack Over Bombing Remark (Rocky Mountain News)
Earlier in the week, Tom Casey, a deputy spokesperson for the State Department, said: “It is absolutely outrageous and reprehensible for anyone to suggest attacks on holy sites, whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish or those of any other religion.” Casey called Tancredo’s proposal “absolutely crazy.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 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.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com