(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/26/10) – A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy group said today that the Louisiana Army ROTC’s use of props portraying stereotypically-dressed Muslim men crouching behind an oil barrel and sheep highlights the disturbing Islamophobic trend toward viewing all Muslims as “the enemy.”
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said ROTC cadets used the props in a February 20 exercise held just two blocks from a mosque used by students at Tulane University in New Orleans, La. A representative of the Tulane Muslim Students Association called the props “offensive.”
SEE: AROTC Uses Cutouts of Muslims as Targets
“The use of stereotypical images of Muslims and Arabs by those training to be military officers sends the false and disturbing message that our nation is at war with Islam,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Our political and religious leaders must speak out against this growing trend toward demonizing Islam and equating Muslims with ‘the enemy.'”
“Most of the people fighting extremism alongside our forces overseas are Muslim,” added CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. “America’s future military officers should be equipped with the best possible understanding of the places in which they will be operating so they can lead their troops effectively. This understanding is not provided by exposing them to crass stereotypes.”
Hooper said other recent incidents indicating a rise in anti-Muslim sentiments include vandalism at a Tennessee mosque, an anti-Islam e-mail circulated by sheriff’s department personnel in Florida, an Islamophobic panel discussion at a conservative conference in Washington, D.C., and the firing of a Muslim employee in California who refused a supervisor’s demand to remove her Islamic head scarf, or hijab.
SEE: Nashville Mosque Vandalized (The Tennessean)
CAIR: Calif. Muslim Fired for Wearing Head Scarf (AOL News)
Anti-Islam CPAC Session Attracts Complaints
He noted that a recent survey showed that more than 4 in 10 Americans admit to anti-Muslim prejudice.
SEE: Poll on Anti-Islam Bias Shows Need for U.S. Muslim Outreach
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.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com