(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/7/16) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed remarks yesterday by President Obama during his final national security speech at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., warning against stigmatizing â€œgood, patrioticâ€ American Muslims or imposing â€œreligious tests as a price for freedom.â€
While the president did not mention President-elect Donald Trump by name, it was widely viewed by many as a message to the next president and a rebuke of Trumpâ€™s many anti-Muslim policy proposals and his Islamophobic rhetoric.
â€œPresident Obamaâ€™s message to President-elect Donald Trump and his administration was clear â€“ stigmatizing American Muslims and imposing arbitrary religious tests will not make our nation more secure and would contradict our democratic values and principles,â€ said CAIR National Government Affairs Department Director Robert S. McCaw.
The President said in part:
â€œWe are fighting terrorists who claim to fight on behalf of Islam, but they do not speak for over a billion Muslims around the world and they do not speak for American Muslims, including many who wear the uniform of the United States of Americaâ€™s military.
â€œIf we stigmatize good, patriotic Muslims, that just feeds the terrorist narrative. It fuels the same false grievances that they use to motivate people to kill.
â€œIf we act like this is a war between the United States and Islam, weâ€™re not just going to lose more Americans to terrorist attacks, but we will also lose sight of the very principles we claim to defend.
So let my final words to you as your commander in chief be a reminder of what it is that youâ€™re fighting for. What it is that we are fighting for.
â€œThe United States of America is not a country that imposes religious tests as a price for freedom.
â€œWe are a country that was founded so that people could practice their faiths as they choose. The United States of America is not a place where some citizens have to withstand greater scrutiny, or carry a special I.D. card, or prove that they are not an enemy from within.
â€œWe are a country that has bled and struggled and sacrificed against that kind of discrimination and arbitrary rule here in our own country and around the world.”
Yesterday, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad joined more than 300 other American Muslim leaders in issuing a joint letter to President-elect Donald Trump calling on him to reconsider troubling policies proposed during his campaign, as well as recent announcements regarding appointments to his upcoming administration.
On Monday, CAIR said president-elect Donald Trumpâ€™s choice of Islamophobe Ben Carson to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) could negatively impact Muslims served and employed by that federal agency.
CAIR recently expressed concern about a â€œtroubling Islamophobic trendâ€ in President-elect Donald Trumpâ€™s recent appointments and nominations of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for the post of attorney general, Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo to head the CIA, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser, K.T. McFarland as deputy national security adviser, Katharine Gorka as part of the DHS â€œlanding team,â€ and â€œalt-rightâ€ extremist Stephen Bannon as Trumpâ€™s chief strategist and senior counselor.
CAIR has also called remarks by incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus about â€œproblematicâ€ aspects of Islam and his refusal to rule out a â€œregistryâ€ for Muslims as more examples of the Islamophobia exhibited by Trumpâ€™s transition team.
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.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, fomentar el diÃ¡logo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.
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