(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/13/13) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today congratulated Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina on his election as Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church and offered the Muslim community's “support and cooperation.”
In a statement following the announcement of the new pope, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
“We congratulate Pope Francis on his election by the College of Cardinals and offer the Muslim community's support and cooperation in every positive effort he will undertake for peace, justice and the betterment of humanity.”
Yesterday, Awad published a commentary encouraging positive relations between the new pope and Muslims worldwide.
In 2007, CAIR's Awad was a signatory, along with 137 other Muslim leaders and scholars, to an open letter titled “A Common Word Between Us and You,” which was sent to Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and more than 20 other Christian leaders.
The open letter was designed to promote understanding between Muslims and Christians worldwide. It stated in part: “et our differences not cause hatred and strife between us. Let us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works. Let us respect each other, be fair, just and kind to (one) another and live in sincere peace, harmony and mutual goodwill.”
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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, firstname.lastname@example.org