(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/4/10) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today offered what it called a “mixed” review of President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world one year after his historic speech in Cairo.
At a news conference this morning in Washington, D.C., CAIR issued a statement analyzing the Obama administration’s actions in the past year and how those actions matched statements made in the Cairo address.
In summarizing that analysis, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
“The president has done a solid job in setting a new tone in relations with the Muslim world, standing by Muslim appointees who were subjected to political smears and undertaking positive initiatives such as the Muslim entrepreneurship summit.
“However, we remain concerned about issues such as the ability of American Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation of zakat, or charitable giving. We are also concerned that national security issues are being used as a cover for the erosion of American Muslim civil liberties.
“Overseas, our nation appears on target in meeting its timetable for leaving Iraq. But violence is escalating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and given the disturbing news out of the Middle East this week, we believe it is time for our government to demand an end to Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza.”
In its analysis of the president’s 2009 Cairo speech, CAIR recommended that the Obama administration “initiate a meaningful and sustained engagement effort with the U.S. charitable community focused on finding solutions that draw on the expertise of charitable organizations.”
The CAIR statement called on the president to nominate members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and to push Congress to pass the End Racial Profiling Act. CAIR also urged the Department of Justice to update its 2005 report on the FBI’s use of confidential informants.
On the international front, CAIR stated: “We should address the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan based on a reduction in our nation’s intervention and on increased support for indigenous solutions based on the will of the people and the decisions of democratically-elected governments.”
CAIR noted that throughout the last year, American Muslims have communicated their ideas, support and concerns to the administration. Shortly after the Cairo speech, CAIR launched the second phase of its “Share the Quran” program, which was inspired in part by the president’s use of quotes from the sacred text in that address.
CAIR also helped encourage volunteers to support “United We Serve,” the administration’s summer-long community service initiative focused on clean energy, education and literacy, health care access and awareness, economic recovery, disaster preparedness, and support for veterans and military families.
SEE: CAIR Statement on the Anniversary of President Obama’s Speech in Cairo
Other national Muslim organizations taking part in today’s news conference to offer their own assessments of the Obama administration’s outreach efforts included the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and MAS Freedom.
For a full transcript of the president’s June 4, 2009, speech, go here.
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 Legislative Director Corey Saylor, Tel: 202-384-8857, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com