(NEW YORK, NY, 2/11/09) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), together with other community groups, today met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion to express their concerns about the mayor’s “uncritical” support for Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza that killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians.
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“Community input is imperative when the mayor claims to speak on behalf of all New Yorkers,” said CAIR-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza N. Ali, who took part in today’s meeting. “We look forward to future open and frank conversations that yield concrete solutions and benefit our city’s diverse population.”
“Mayor Bloomberg’s uncritical support of Israel has undermined the local community’s efforts to build bridges of mutual understanding between interfaith groups,” said Father Khader N. El-Yateem, pastor of Salam Arabic Lutheran Church.
“The mayor represents all New Yorkers,” said Network of Arab-American Professionals of New York’s co-founder Sarab Al-Jijakli. “Moving forward, we hope Mayor Bloomberg refrains from making unbalanced foreign policy statements that alienate and marginalize the Muslim and Arab-American communities of this city.”
Other groups participating in the meeting included the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Arab Muslim American Federation, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and the Association of Muslim American Lawyers.
The groups called for the establishment of a task force that would provide consultation on issues affecting the New York Muslim and Arab-American communities.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group and has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil liberties, and empower American Muslims.
CONTACT: CAIR-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza N. Ali, 212-870-2002, 718-724-3041, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org