In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. HOLOCAUST MUSEUM URGED TO DROP ISLAM-BASHER
Presidential appointee says Quran oath ‘undermines American civilization’
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/4/06) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called for the removal of a presidential appointee to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council because of his intolerant views toward Islam in American society.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urged that talk show host and columnist Dennis Prager be removed from the taxpayer-supported museum’s council because of a recent syndicated column in which he wrote that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should be prevented from taking his oath of office using the Quran.
(President Bush recently appointed Prager to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the governing board of the Holocaust Memorial Museum, for the remainder of a five year term expiring January 15, 2011.)
In his column, headlined “America, Not Keith Ellison, Decides What Book a Congressman Takes His Oath On,” Prager wrote that swearing an oath on the Quran “undermines American civilization.” “Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible,” wrote Prager. “If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress.”
Prager also wrote that Ellison’s swearing on a Quran would “be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11.”
(The U.S. Constitution states that “no religious test shall ever be required” to hold public office. No books of any kind are used in the actual swearing-in ceremony. Representatives may use any book they choose, or no book at all, during later ceremonial events.)
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called Prager’s views “intolerant, misinformed and downright un-American.”
In a letter to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council Chairman Fred S. Zeidman, CAIR wrote:
“No one who holds such bigoted, intolerant and divisive views should be in a policymaking position at a taxpayer-funded institution that seeks to educate Americans about the destructive impact hatred has had, and continues to have, on every society. As a presidential appointee, Prager’s continued presence on the council would send a negative message to Muslims worldwide about America’s commitment to religious tolerance.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 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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