(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/16/15) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today re-launched two of its educational campaigns in response to the current debate about Islam and free speech in the wake of the recent terror attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine in France.
The Washington-based civil rights group says its research shows a correlation between increasing knowledge of Islam and decreasing anti-Muslim prejudice.
The high-quality volumes of the Quran distributed in CAIR's “Share the Quran” campaign contain the original Arabic script, an English translation by Muhammad Asad, transliteration of the Arabic text, and notes on individual verses. They include a bookmark guide to the verses related to topics such as women's rights, social justice, and respect for other faiths.
“There are specific and clear verses in the Quran that instruct Muslims to respond peacefully and with prayer to insults and mockery,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Free speech is at the core of Islamic beliefs.”
Awad cited Quranic verses such as:
- “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error.” (The Holy Quran, Chapter 2, Verse 256)
- “Invite (all humankind) to thy Sustainer's path with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most kindly manner. For, behold, thy Sustainer knows best who strays from His path .. Hence, if you have to respond to an attack (in argument), respond only to the extent of the attack leveled against you. But to bear yourselves with patience is indeed far better for (you, since God is with) those who are patient in adversity.” (The Holy Quran, 16:125-126)
- “Be patient over what they say.” (The Holy Quran, 20:130)
- “For, servants of the Most Gracious are they who walk gently on earth, and who, whenever the foolish address them, reply with words of peace.” (The Holy Quran, 25:63)
- “A good deed is not like a bad deed. Repel that which is bad with that which is good. Indeed, maybe he whom you have an enmity with may become a close friend.” (The Holy Quran, Chapter 41:34)
- “Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.” (The Holy Quran, 7:199)
CAIR is also re-launching its initiative to educate media professionals through distribution of its publication, “American Muslims: A Journalist's Guide to Understanding Islam and Muslims,” which offers journalists tools to gain a better understanding of Islam and to write accurate and balanced stories about Muslims.
The guide also offers background information on issues related to Islam and Muslims, best practices for reporting on the American Muslim community and definitions of terminology often used in news stories or editorials.
In challenging common misconceptions about Islam and Muslims, the guide provides an Islamic perspective on hot-button issues such as Islam and democracy, freedom of religion, women's rights, and interfaith relations.
Media professionals may request a free copy of CAIR's journalist guide by filling out a form.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, email@example.com