(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/1/07) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on presidential candidate Sen. John McCain to appoint a Muslim campaign advisor and a Muslim White House aide if elected in 2008.
CAIR’s request came following McCain’s remarks that America is a “Christian” nation and that he would not be comfortable with a Muslim in the White House.
In response to a question from Beliefnet.com about the possibility of a Muslim presidential candidate, the Arizona senator said: “I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, that’s a decision the American people would have to make, but personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith.”
SEE: McCain Casts Muslims as Less Fit to Lead (NY Times)
A “clarification” issued by the McCain campaign failed to address the issue, but focused instead on the senator’s belief that “people of all faiths are entitled to all the rights protected by the Constitution.” McCain’s campaign spokesperson also said: “In the interview [McCain] also observed that the values protected by the Constitution, by which he meant values such as respect for human life and dignity, are rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition.”
“The Constitution, reflecting the principles of the Founding Fathers and those who voted for its ratification, prohibits religious tests for public office,” said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. “Senator McCain should know that our nation was founded on universal moral principles common to many religions and philosophies. He does a disservice to those principles by suggesting that not belonging to a particular religious group limits an individual’s ability to lead.”
Saylor said Muslim advisors could offer McCain accurate information on issues related to Islam and the American Muslims.
McCain’s stated concerns about a Muslim presidential candidate come in the wake of comments by Rep. Peter King (R-NY) who said “we have too many mosques in this country.” King is an advisor to Rudy Giuliani, who is also running for president.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 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.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 571-278-4658; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com