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CAIR’s Open Letter to Congress

CAIR’S OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has a long history of positive social and political activism.

As a result, 32 CAIR chapters in 20 states have developed strong grass-roots relations with people of all faiths in the communities in which they work to promote social justice and interfaith tolerance.

Our recent event on Capitol Hill, a panel discussion titled “Global Attitudes on Islam-West Relations: US Policy Implications,” was our fifth Hill event in the last two years. It was selected as a target of opportunity by some who seek to block participation in the political process of American citizens of the Islamic faith by defaming their representative institutions and organizations.

For the record, CAIR unequivocally condemns terror attacks targeting people of all faiths and in all areas of the world.

CAIR operates under the strict guidelines of its core values. These values include: support for freedom of religion and freedom of expression, and a commitment to supporting policies that promote dialogue, civil rights and diversity in America and worldwide.

In an effort designed to demonstrate the American Muslim community’s repudiation of terrorism and religious extremism, CAIR launched an online petition drive called “Not in the Name of Islam.” We also launched a nationwide television public service announcement campaign of the same name and coordinated a ground-breaking fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, against terrorism.

CAIR offered pro-active and positive responses to the controversies over allegations of Quran desecration at Guantanamo Bay and the publication of cartoons in Denmark defaming Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Our educational initiatives opened doors to dialogue and mutual understanding with Americans of all faiths.

It is our hope that fair-minded Americans will not be swayed by the extreme rhetoric of those opposed to allowing American Muslims to exercise their full rights as citizens. We were heartened to see confirmation of this hope in the support we received for our right to discuss global opinion polls and the impact they may have on U.S. policy.

We welcome this support in the spirit of a united America, with a vigorous debate about our nation’s foreign policies.

This unfortunate episode was triggered by an article in the Washington Times in which the writer falsely claimed, “CAIR officials did not return a call seeking comment.” The article’s author had spoken to CAIR’s Communications Director.

The rest of the article followed this trend.

The episode was exacerbated when the Republican Conference chose to issue statements that were reflective of “Google” searches of anti-Muslim Internet hate sites.

In fact, our detractors’ allegations do not stand up to objective scrutiny.

As reported in the New York Times on page A1 on Wednesday, March 14, 2007:

“Government officials in Washington said they were not aware of any criminal investigation of the group. More than one described the standards used by critics to link CAIR to terrorism as akin to McCarthyism, essentially guilt by association.

“‘Of all the groups, there is probably more suspicion about CAIR, but when you ask people for cold hard facts, you get blank stares,’ said Michael Rolince, a retired F.B.I. official who directed counterterrorism in the Washington field office from 2002 to 2005.”

“A small band of critics have made a determined but unsuccessful effort to link [CAIR] to Hamas and Hezbollah. . .”

We recognize that many of our positions on issues such as Iraq, last year’s conflict in Lebanon, Iran-US relations and overzealous government intrusion into private life make us unpopular with some people.

However, to question the legality of our organization and our loyalty to the United States is simply unacceptable.

Attacks on our positions are the price of taking principled stands on the issues. But personal attacks are unfair and not representative of basic American decency.

The fact that we come under attack by anti-Muslim extremists is no surprise to anyone who works for positive social change. All proponents of social justice have faced similar attacks designed to silence their voices.

It is our view that the attacks against us are an indicator of the effectiveness of our advocacy.

CAIR is supported by many mainstream political, social and religious groups. We have active alliances with members of the Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Hispanic, African-American, and Asian communities. We attend each others events and we share the aspiration to make America’s future brighter than its past.

In the end, we place our trust in God and pray that He guides us and gives us the strength to endure attempts to marginalize and silence the voice of a growing and contributing religious minority in America.

We invite you to visit our website at www.cair.com to familiarize yourself with the work we do.

Also visit www.cair.com/factsaboutcair.asp to find out more about our recent accomplishments.

We remain an open and transparent organization. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by calling (202) 488-8787 or e-mailing csaylor@cair.com. We will be glad to answer your questions and address your concerns.

 

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