(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/18/2015) â€“ The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today expressed solidarity with the African-American community following last nightâ€™s deadly terror attack at a Charleston, S.C., church.
CAIR also offered condolences to the loved ones of the nine people killed in the attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, which has historic significance stretching from the time of slavery to the civil rights movement.
The FBI has named Dylann Roof, 21, of Columbia, S.C., as the suspect in the shooting. A Facebook photo of Roof shows him with the Apartheid-era South African flag pinned on his jacket.
â€œWe stand in solidarity with the African-American community as it and our nation deal with this heartbreaking attack on men and women seeking spiritual growth in a historic house of worship,â€ said CAIR National Board Chair Roula Allouch. â€œWe offer sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of all those who were killed or wounded.â€
â€œOur nationâ€™s leaders must take immediate concrete measures to deal with the growing divisions within our society that lead to such tragedies,â€ said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. â€œThis type of apparently hate-motivated attack fits the definition of domestic terrorism and should be treated as such.â€
He said CAIR is offering to send its publication,Â “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety,â€ to leaders of houses of worship of all faiths.
That booklet, which was published in response to previous attacks on American Muslim institutions, contains safety information applicable to any institution and may be requested through CAIRâ€™s website:Â
Awad also noted that a Tennessee man recently pleaded guilty to planning a terror attack on a mosque in New York. He reportedly sought to coordinate that attack in cooperation with militia members in South Carolina.
- SEE: CAIR Says Tenn. Man Who Planned Religiously-Motivated Attack on NY Muslims Should Face Terror Charges
- Yorkâ€™s Holy Islamville Terrified After Threats to Kill NY Muslims
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,Â firstname.lastname@example.orgÂ