(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/20/2013) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a new State Department report on international religious freedom, which recognizes that “[a]nti-Muslim rhetoric and actions were clearly on the rise — particularly in Europe and Asia.”
According to the report, “Government restrictions, which often coincided with societal animosity, resulted in anti-Muslim actions that affected everyday life for numerous believers.”
The report, which covers the year 2012, also states:
“The impact ranged from education, to employment, to personal safety within communities. Government restrictions on religious attire also remained an issue, as Muslim women faced increasing restrictions on head coverings in schools, in public sector employment, and in public spaces.”
Countries of particular concern included Burma (Myanmar), in which “Muslims in Rakhine State, particularly those of the Rohingya minority group, continued to be subjected to lethal violence and to experience severe forms of legal, economic, educational, and social discrimination.”
“We welcome the recognition by State Department officials that anti-Muslim rhetoric is on the rise worldwide,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “People of all faiths and backgrounds must work together to promote mutual understanding and to challenge the increasing hatred we see in many parts of the world.”
“We hope there will now be serious effort by the Department of State to challenge the dangerous phenomenon of Islamophobia,” said Awad.
Awad noted that just today, media reports indicate that Greek neo-Nazis are threatening to block construction of that nation's first mosque.
He said protection of minority communities and their rights is a religious obligation in Islam.
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, email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, firstname.lastname@example.org