Press Releases

CAIR Supports VA Muslim Leader Smeared by ‘Islamophobes’

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/28/07) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today offered moral support to a Virginia physician who is under attack from “Islamophobes who seek to demonize and marginalize the mainstream Muslim community and its leaders.&rdquo

Dr. Esam Omeish, national leader of the Muslim American Society (MAS), was forced to resign from a Virginia immigration commission yesterday after being subjected to what he called a “smear campaign” by anti-Islam bloggers and Muslim-bashers like Steven Emerson who distorted past comments he made about Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinian people and about “jihad.&rdquo

[Note: “Jihad” is a broad Islamic concept that, despite being abused by some extremists, does not justify terrorism in any form. It includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself, struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle in the battlefield for self-defense (e.g., – having a standing army for national defense), or fighting against tyranny or oppression.]

SEE: Va. Muslim Activist Denies Urging Violence (Washington Post)

In a statement of support, CAIR said:

“The scurrilous smear campaign against Dr. Omeish is only the latest episode in a sustained effort by a vocal minority of Islamophobes who seek to demonize and marginalize the mainstream Muslim community and its leaders.

“These hate-mongers target any Muslim individual or institution seeking to offer an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to our society. It is a dirty political game in which our entire society is the loser.

“Unfortunately, the hysteria that has been created about ‘jihad’ and the fear generated by the domestic lobby in support of Israel’s Apartheid-like policies only serve to preclude reasoned public discussion once this type of smear campaign has been initiated.

“At the same time that we see a respected community leader and physician forced to resign an appointed post, we see national politicians claiming there are too many mosques in America, demanding that the Quran not be used to swear in the first Muslim congressman and suggesting that Islamic holy sites be bombed.

“We also see an advisor to a major presidential candidate support the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II and advocate the ‘razing’ of Palestinian villages. Another presidential candidate has expressed discomfort about a Muslim in the White House.

SEE: John McCain: Constitution Established a ‘Christian Nation’

“None of these individuals has been forced to step down from their respective positions.

“If we are to remain an inclusive society that respects differences of faith and political opinion, we must move beyond the tactics of fear-based intimidation and exclusion.&rdquo

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail:


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