Muslim civil rights group to distribute 200,000 copies of Islam’s holy text
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/9/2010) — A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today announced a major educational initiative in response to an extremist Gainesville, Fla., church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran, Islam’s holy text, on September 11.
SEE: Muslim Group to Distribute Replacement Qurans
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Video: CAIR-OH Speaks Out Against Quran Burning
Video: CAIR-OK Launches Awareness Campaign as Church Plans to Burn Qurans
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said its “Learn, Don’t Burn” initiative will seek to distribute 200,000 copies of the Qurans to replace the 200 books that the Florida church plans to burn. The Qurans will be sponsored and distributed through CAIR’s ongoing “Explore the Quran” campaign.
SEE: Explore the Quran
At a Capitol Hill news conference, CAIR said its executive director will offer the sermon for the end of Ramadan (Eid ul-Fitr) prayers in Gainesville on Friday and will hold a news conference in that city on Saturday following any Quran burnings.
In his Friday sermon, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad will outline how Muslims and people of other faiths should respond to the burning.
“This unfortunate behavior on the part of the church’s officials should prompt stepped-up interfaith dialogue nationwide,” said Awad. “People may be surprised to learn about the commonalities between the Quran, the Bible and the Torah.”
Awad said research shows that there is a correlation between increasing knowledge of Islam and decreasing anti-Muslim prejudice — a fact that prompted CAIR’s new initiative. According to CAIR public opinion surveys, only two percent of Americans say they are “very knowledgeable” about Islam, and almost 60 percent say they are “not very knowledgeable” or “not at all knowledgeable” about the faith.
Today CAIR also released its new “Challenging Islamophobia” pocket guide, which offers tips on dealing with anti-Islam rhetoric on the Internet, in the workplace and in schools and universities. The guide also offers a definition of Islamophobia and advice for challenging anti-Muslim views espoused by public figures.
SEE: CAIR ‘Challenging Islamophobia’ Pocket Guide
CAIR-AZ: Phoenix Mosque Vandalism Being Investigated by FBI
CAIR-PA: Muslim Center Copes with Increased Islam-Bashing
Yesterday, CAIR sent a letter today to CENTCOM Commander General James N. Mattis asking that he personally visit the Florida church to request that the September 11 burnings be cancelled.
SEE: CAIR Letter to Gen. Mattis
Last week, CAIR distributed public service announcements (PSAs) designed to challenge growing anti-Muslim sentiment in American society. Those PSAs have already been viewed by more than 12 million people.
Earlier this month, CAIR released an online toolkit designed to help Muslim communities organize proactive local educational and outreach initiatives such as a “National Day of Unity and Healing” on the upcoming anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
SEE: ‘Teachable Moment Community Response Guide’ Toolkit
The toolkit, called “A Teachable Moment Community Response Guide,” offers guidance, tools and resources to help Muslim communities respond to specific current events such as the end of Ramadan Eid al-Fitr holiday occurring near September 11, the upcoming “Burn a Koran Day” by the Florida church, the anti-Muslim bigotry generated by the smear campaign against a planned Islamic community center in Manhattan, and the ongoing tension and misunderstanding surrounding the building or expansion of mosques nationwide.
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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com