(CHICAGO, IL, 7/12/09) – The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) announced that Robert Spencer, one of the nation’s leading Islam-bashers, will not speak today at the annual conference of the American Library Association (ALA) following intervention by CAIR and concerned librarians, and the withdrawal of the other scheduled panelists who protested Spencer’s participation.
Librarians from across the country contacted the ALA questioning the appropriateness of inviting Spencer to speak on a panel titled “Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping” because of his history of intolerant views. The other speakers invited to join the panel withdrew after hearing of Spencer’s scheduled participation.
SEE: Library Group Panelists Withdraw Over Role of Islam-Basher
SEE ALSO: CAIR-Chicago Asks Library Group to Drop Anti-Muslim Bigot from Panel
The ALA canceled the panel discussion on Saturday. In a statement, Myra Appel, Chair of the ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Roundtable (EMIERT), said in part:
“We believe that the panel on ‘Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping’ and other like sessions are important to the profession, and we invite members of the ALA to join with us in future discussions as we continue to explore the many issues related to cultural diversity and multiculturalism.”
SEE: ALA Conference 2009: Organization Behind Islam Panel Issues Statement
“We thank all those who stood up for tolerance and mutual understanding to challenge Robert Spencer’s Islamophobic views,” said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, who had written to the ALA questioning why an anti-Islam bigot was invited to a panel on dispelling stereotypes about Islam.
“Because stereotyping of Islam is such an important issue, we hope a future panel on this topic can be arranged with credible scholars and representatives of the American Muslim community,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “We strongly support open and honest discussion of difficult issues, but Mr. Spencer’s agenda-driven polemics promote the very stereotypes that the ALA event sought to dispel.”
Awad said CAIR would seek to work with the ALA to schedule a future event on the same topic as the canceled panel discussion.
CAIR recently launched an education initiative called “Share the Quran,” which is designed to dispel stereotypes about Islam and to enhance understanding of Islam by opinion leaders and policymakers nationwide by offering them free copies of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text.
SEE: 100,000 American Leaders to Receive Free Copies of the Quran
1. Please support CAIR’s “Share the Quran” project today by sponsoring a copy of the Quran to be sent to an American opinion leader to help enhance his or her understanding of Islam. To learn more or to sponsor a copy of the Quran, go to: http://www.explorethequran.com/
2. Support CAIR’s important work by make a donation here.
CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail: email@example.com, 312.212.1520; or 202.870.0016; Reem Rahman, Communications Coordinator, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 217.493.0912 or 312.212.1520; Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR National Communications Director, email@example.com, 202.488.8787 or 202.744.7726