CAIR Asks President to Address Rise in Anti-Islam Hate

Islamophobic incidents, rhetoric target ordinary American Muslims

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on President Obama to address what it called an "alarming level of anti-Islam hate in our nation."

In a letter to President Obama, CAIR cited recent incidents in Florida in which a cross with the message "Christian nation, Christian community" was planted at the site of a planned mosque and an anti-Islam Christmas display was set up by a local church.

SEE: Cross Planted on Mosque Property Removed (Video) http://www.wesh.com/video/22039354/index.html

Christmas Display Targets Islamic Faith http://tinyurl.com/ygdrfgz

Other incidents cited by the Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization included:

  • anti-Islam brochures distributed in the parking lot of a Washington state Islamic school
  • hate-filled fliers posted in a Minnesota Somali community
  • an attack on a Sikh youth in Texas who was mistaken for a Muslim
  • the painting of "Go Home Sand N**ger" on an Idaho Muslim's truck
  • the harassment of a Muslim bank customer in Illinois because of her Islamic head scarf
  • an attack on another Illinois Muslim after the Fort Hood shootings
  • a call by far-right members of the U.S. House of Representatives to investigate Muslim interns on Capitol Hill as "spies"
  • the ethnic intimidation of an Ohio Muslim who found a noose and a toy camel on his door
  • a Colorado sheriff who called the U.S. Marines "Travel agents to Allah"
  • the failure of Virginia's governor-elect to repudiate anti-Islam statements by one of his top supporters
  • a defaced Quran that was left at a Michigan mosque
  • a spate of vandalism incidents at mosques nationwide
  • anti-Islam remarks by Christian evangelist Franklin Graham
  • the use of anti-Islam rhetoric in the platform of a Minnesota congressional candidate

A recent poll also showed that two-thirds of Protestant pastors consider Islam "dangerous."

"President Obama is in the best position to address the alarming level of anti-Islam hate in our nation and to urge religious and political leaders to speak out in support of tolerance and mutual understanding," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

He added that President Obama himself has been targeted by anti-Muslim hate despite the fact that he is Christian. A Colorado car dealer recently put up a billboard depicting the president as a turban-wearing militant.

Awad acknowledged recent remarks to a Muslim and Arab-American gathering in Michigan by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in which he said the U.S. Department of Justice will return to its "traditional" role of ensuring civil rights. The president also signed a spending measure that will give the Justice Department's civil rights division 102 new staff members, many of whom will be assigned to hate-crimes investigations.

A new CAIR public service announcement (PSA), called "I am Muslim, I am American," began airing yesterday on the CBS Super Screen in New York City's Times Square.

The PSA, produced by CAIR's New York chapter, features an American Muslim NYPD sergeant, as well as a Muslim Little League all-star, a human rights activist, a doctoral candidate, and an attorney. It begins with the statement, "Building Community, Serving Country." To view the PSA, go to: http://www.cair.com/ny

On December 3, CAIR released its annual national report on the status of American Muslim civil rights. That report, titled "Seeking Full Inclusion," showed an increase in the number of bias-related incidents in 2008.

SEE: CAIR News Conference on U.S. Muslim Civil Rights (Video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpZMIMsdKnE

To view the entire "Seeking Full Inclusion" report, go to: http://www.cair.com/Portals/0/pdf/CAIR-2009-Civil-Rights-Report.pdf

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.

CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, +1-202-488-8787, +1-202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com, or CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, +1-202-488-8787, +1-202-341-4171, arubin@cair.com

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations



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