(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/9/08) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today thanked an Illinois law enforcement official who apologized for using a fake “mosque” in a recent emergency preparedness drill
CAIR, a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, had expressed concerns that the use of the term “mosque” by state law enforcement agencies sent the “wrong message” that all Islamic houses of worship may be potential security threats.
In response to concerns over use of the fake “mosque,” Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Undersheriff Rick Robbins told the Journal-News newspaper: “I apologize for the message that was received by many. After reviewing statements made regarding the use of the word mosque, I understand the misuse of the word.” Robbins helped plan the drill.
SEE: Muslim Group Takes Offense at Exercise (Journal-News)
“We thank Illinois law enforcement officials for their quick and professional response to American Muslim concerns,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR’s Chicago chapter. “These types of drills are essential for national security, but such training should not include the promotion of religious stereotypes.”
In a phone conversation with Robbins, Rehab said CAIR is ready to partner with the sheriff’s department on security and sensitivity issues.
Last month, CAIR’s chapter in Pennsylvania (CAIR-PA) called on police training officials in that state to offer a Muslim perspective in a mandatory police training class because of concerns that the class may present stereotypical views of Islam and Muslims.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 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.
CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, 202-870-0166, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org