(Washington, D.C., 3/9/05) A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today applauded MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews’ decision not to speak at a Florida convention that will honor an Indian official accused of complicity in the massacre of Muslim civilians.
A representative for Matthews told the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that a “scheduling conflict” will prevent him from attending the annual convention of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) later this month in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, is a keynote speaker at the convention.
Following anti-Muslim riots in 2002 that left more than 1000 civilians dead, senior officials in Gujarat said they had been directed by Modi to allow the massacres to run their course. Modi allegedly called the riots “anticipated Hindu reaction” and “a natural outpouring.” Last Week, CAIR revealed that Modi’s administration distributed a social studies textbook praising Adolf Hitler.
(Modi is also scheduled to speak in New York on March 20th. SEE: http://www.narendramodi.net/agenda.htm )
The Indian Muslim Council-USA and the newly-formed Coalition Against Genocide (CAG) had asked Matthews to withdraw from the Florida event. CAG is also planning protests in New York on March 20th and in Florida on March 24th. SEE: http://www.imc-usa.org/ and http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/
CAIR is urging the Bush administration to block Modi’s entry based on a section (Sec. 604) of the International Religious Freedom Act that makes any foreign official who has engaged in “particularly severe violations of religious freedom” inadmissible to the United States.
“We are pleased that Mr. Matthews and MSNBC will not be associated with a person accused of complicity in mass murder,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 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.
To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About