(ORLANDO, FL, 8/24/07) – The Orlando chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Orlando) today thanked a local official who expressed regret for recent comments about U.S. mosques that some Muslims found offensive.
At a recent City of Sanford planning meeting, Commissioner Randy Jones said: “I mean it might be un-politically correct, but I don’t care. . .The fact of the matter is, I don’t think you will get a lot of takers on residential [development] next to a mosque just because of what’s going on worldwide.”
In response to Jones’ statement, CAIR-Orlando sent a letter to the commissioner stating in part:
“. . .because your comments were made in an official capacity, it may sanction the view that Muslims should be isolated from community life based on tragic conflicts happening overseas. . .Let us work toward mutual understanding and a solution to the misconception you raised, that tragic conflicts which occur overseas must negatively impact an otherwise positive and productive relationship at home.”
Yesterday, Commissioner Jones called CAIR-Orlando and expressed regret for the comments and stated that he wanted to assure the Muslim community that city planning decisions would not be influenced by events overseas. He also agreed to take part in a town hall meeting with local Muslims, at which he would offer advice on political empowerment and involvement.
Jones told CAIR-Orlando that many members of the Sanford Muslim community contacted him to express their concerns about his remarks.
“We thank Commissioner Jones for addressing this misunderstanding in a forthright and productive manner,” said CAIR-Orlando Executive Director Danette Zaghari-Mask.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil liberties, and empower American Muslims.
CONTACT: CAIR-Orlando Executive Director Danette Zaghari-Mask, 407-473-1555, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR-Orlando Operations Coordinator Jaweria Rani, 407-618-6279