(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/12/09) – A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on American political and religious leaders to challenge Islamophobes engaged in a rhetorical backlash to the recent shooting spree at Fort Hood in Texas.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said anti-Muslim extremists are upset that mainstream media outlets have largely avoided blanket indictments of Islam and Muslims in their coverage of the attack.
VIDEO: Media Conservatives Exploit Tragedy to Attack Muslims
SEE: Right-Wing Media Respond to Shooting by Attacking U.S. Muslims
“It is the proper role of national religious and political leaders to challenge those who promote hatred and intolerance,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “Extremists who seek to exploit the Fort Hood tragedy are doing a disservice to our nation and to the values of justice and inclusion on which it is based.”
Awad cited a number of statements by anti-Muslim extremists seeking to exploit the Fort Hood attack to generate hostility to Islam and to marginalize American Muslims.
- Tunku Varadarajan, a professor at NYU’s Stern Business School suggested that the term “going postal” be changed to “going Muslim.”
SEE: ‘Going Muslim’ (Forbes)
- Television evangelist Pat Robertson said Muslims should be treated as communists or fascists. Robertson told his “700 Club” audience: “Islam is a violent — I was going to say religion — but it’s not a religion. It’s a political system. It’s a violent political system bent on the overthrow of governments of the world and world domination…I think you should treat it as such and treat its adherents as such. As we would members of the Communist party and members of some Fascist group.”
SEE: Robertson on Islam (Washington Post)
- Dave Gaubatz, author of a Muslim-bashing book, called for a “backlash” against American Muslims. Gaubatz wrote on a right-wing Web site: “Now is the time for a professional and legal backlash against the Muslim community and their leaders.”
SEE: Call for Backlash Against Muslims Embarrasses Even Right-Wing Think Tank
- Widely-syndicated conservative columnist Cal Thomas said the Fort Hood shooter’s “preference for Muslim clothing” should have alerted authorities “that he might be a time bomb waiting to go off.”
SEE: Thomas: Jihadists in the Military
- The American Family Association has called for a ban on Muslims in the military. In an article titled “No More Muslims in the U.S. Military,” the group’s Director of Issues Analysis Bryan Fischer wrote: “It is time, I suggest, to stop the practice of allowing Muslims to serve in the U.S. military. The reason is simple: the more devout a Muslim is, the more of a threat he is to national security.”
SEE: Conservative Christian Group Calls for Ban on Muslims in Military
- Oklahoma writer Timothy Rollins echoed the call to exclude all Muslims from the military. He wrote: “What [the Fort Hood] attack does is further strengthen the case for the honorable discharge of all Muslims from the United States Armed Forces, regardless of the degree to which they may adhere to their faith.”
SEE: Oklahoma Writer Calls For Ban of Muslims in Military
Immediately following the attack at Fort Hood, CAIR and other Muslim organizations issued strong condemnations of the deadly shootings and urged the nation to remain calm and unified.
SEE: U.S. Muslim Group Urges Calm, Unity After Fort Hood Shootings
CAIR also repudiated online remarks by a former Virginia imam praising the alleged perpetrator of the Fort Hood attack.
SEE: CAIR Repudiates Praise for Fort Hood Shooter
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, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com