(GARDEN GROVE, CA, 6/5/08) – On May 28, 2008, several Southern California Muslim leaders met with the United Nations Special Rapporteur Dr. Doudou Diene at the Islamic Society of Orange County, Garden Grove. The meeting was organized by the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.
Dr. Diene is visiting cities across the U.S. as part of his mission to gather information on issues related to Islamophobia, racism and discrimination against Muslims. He also sought recommendations for solutions to counter Islamophobia and asked whether the U.S. government’s efforts have been effective in combating racism and discrimination.
SEE: Racism, Racial Discrimination on Rise Around the World, UN Expert Warns
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Shura Council, welcomed and thanked Dr. Diene for meeting the Muslim leadership in Greater Los Angeles. Dr. Siddiqi also thanked the American Civil Liberties Union for its coordination with the Shura Council.
Other members of the Muslim leadership included Abdel Jabbar Hamdan, who was falsely imprisoned for more than two years; Said Seddouk; Hussam Ayloush, CAIR-Greater Los Angeles executive director; Dr. Rezaur Rehman with Muslim Community Services, Inc. of La Mirada; Saida Khan of Islamic Educational Center of Orange County; Imam Taha Hassane of the Islamic Center of San Diego; Mohammad Ashraf of the Islamic Center of San Gabriel; Affad Shaikh, CAIR-Greater Los Angeles civil rights coordinator; and Kalim Farooki and Masoud Nassimi, Shura Council board members.
“The Muslim community has continually supported law enforcement efforts and condemned terrorism,” said Dr. Siddiqi. “However, members of the Islamic faith suffer from ongoing prejudice, discrimination and hate crimes. We welcome UN Special Rapporteur Dr. Diene efforts to shed light on and address Islamophobia.”
Ayloush added: “A comprehensive solution to the growing problem of Islamophobia should involve educational initiatives for the public, as well as persistently challenging anti-Muslim rhetoric by officials and pundits, which sometimes leads to hate crimes against Muslims.”
Dr. Diene said the rise in Islamophobia around the world is of great concern to the U.N. He also said he will detail his findings, along with recommended solutions, in a report to the U.N., which is set to be released in 2009.
CONTACT: Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Phone: (714) 531-1722; Munira Syeda, communications coordinator for CAIR-LA, Phone: (714) 776-1847.