(ST. PAUL, MN, 12/10/09) – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called on political and religious leaders in that state to repudiate recent incidents of anti-Muslim hate.
In the first incident, a challenger to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, said Islam promotes criminal behavior and that Muslims do not deserve constitutional protections. On her campaign web site, Lynne Torgerson wrote in part: “[T]he religion of Islam cannot be protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is not ‘religion’ recognizable under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
In a media interview, she said, “I don’t want other cultures coming into the United States and chilling our freedoms.”
SEE: Ellison Foe Torgerson Says Islam Promotes Criminal Behavior
In St. Cloud, Minn., anti-Muslim cartoons with derogatory depictions of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and Nazi swastikas were posted on utility poles this week.
SEE: St. Cloud Police Investigate Anti-Islamic Cartoons
“We believe there is a direct correlation between anti-Muslim rhetoric and bias incidents targeting American Muslims,” said CAIR-MN Communications Director Jessica Zikri. “Our state’s political and religious leaders need to speak out strongly against anti-Muslim hate, just as they would speak out against any other form of intolerance.”
Zikri added that CAIR-MN is working with St. Cloud Muslim leaders to offer training on community safety and religious freedom. In June, CAIR-MN offered a “Know Your Rights” workshop at a convention organized by the Islamic Center of St. Cloud.
On December 3, the Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization released its annual report on the status of American Muslim civil rights. That report, titled “Seeking Full Inclusion,” showed an increase in the number of bias-related incidents in 2008.
SEE: CAIR News Conference on U.S. Muslim Civil Rights (Video)
To view the entire “Seeking Full Inclusion” report, go here.
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.
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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Communications Director Jessica Zikri, 612-226-3289, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR-MN Outreach Director Kashif Saroya, Tel: 651-216-9557, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com