In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AMERICAN LEADERS ASKED TO REPUDIATE ANTI-ISLAM HATE
Baptist leader, politicians stereotype Islam and Muslims; MO family's home targeted with racist graffiti
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/1/06) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today reacted to a series of physical and rhetorical attacks on Islam and Muslims nationwide by calling on religious and political leaders to repudiate growing Islamophobia in American society.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported that a county commissioner in Florida said Tuesday that he agrees with a letter his wife wrote to a local newspaper calling Islam a "hateful, frightening religion."
SEE: Muslim Bashing Sets Off Furor (St. Petersburg Times)
In Missouri, a top Baptist leader in that state told 1,200 convention delegates: "Today, Islam has a strategic plan to defeat and occupy America." He said Muslims are planning to take over America one city at a time, starting with Detroit. "They are trying to establish a Muslim state inside America, and they are going to take the city of Detroit back to the 15th century and practice Sharia (or Islamic) law there."
SEE: Muslims 'Are Here to Take Over Our Country' (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
SEE ALSO: 'The Message is Clear. The Enemy is Real' (Southeast Missourian)
Also in Missouri, "KKK" and "Kill Muslim" were scrawled in spray paint on the garage door of a family of Pakistani heritage.
SEE: Racist Graffiti Scrawled on Garage Door (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
In Pennsylvania, Sen. Rick Santorum compared the Islamic concept of "Jihad" to Nazism. "Mein Kampf means struggle; jihad means struggle," said Santorum.
(Jihad is a central and broad Islamic concept that includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself, struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle on the battlefield by using a standing army for national defense, or fighting against tyranny or oppression.)
SEE: Incumbent Says He's Not 'Fear-Mongering' (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
CAIR said a number of political candidates nationwide have exploited anti-Muslim bias in their campaigns.
In New York, Rep. Peter King claimed the vast majority of mosques in his state and nationwide are being run by "radicals." In California, a Muslim candidate for the Anaheim City Council was labeled "anti-American" by his Republican opponents. In Wisconsin, a congressional candidate questioned about his call for profiling of Muslims suggested looking for anyone who is "wearing a turban and his name is Muhammad." And in Minnesota, another candidate for Congress said that "as a Jew" he is offended by his Muslim opponent's candidacy.
Last week, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said that dialogue with American Muslims is a "pipe dream" because "there's nobody to talk to." Last month on his "700 Club" television program, Pat Robertson called the Quran "fraudulent."
SEE: The Truth about Muhammad (CBN)
"Anti-Muslim rhetoric in our society is growing to alarming levels," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "This disturbing trend can only get worse unless top American religious and political leaders speak out strongly against Islamophobia."
Hooper said a recent CAIR report indicated an almost 30 percent increase in the total number of complaints of anti-Muslim bias from 2004 to 2005. A CAIR survey released last week showed that Muslims are religiously diverse, well integrated in American society, politically active, and lean toward the Democratic Party.
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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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: email@example.com
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