CAIR: Coalition Asks Wash. State College to Drop Anti-Islam Speaker

SEATTLE, May 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) today said that a coalition of some 60 interfaith and community leaders has asked Everett Community College in Everett, Wash., to drop an Islamophobic speaker scheduled to appear Thursday as part of an "Islam in America" lecture series.

CAIR-WA Commentary: EvCC Event Could Undermine Clear Understanding of Islam (Daily Herald)

http://tinyurl.com/6jot462

The speaker, Raymond Ibrahim, writes frequently for a blog published by a leader of Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), which was recently designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

SEE: Active Anti-Muslim Groups

http://www.splcenter.org/node/3502/activegroups

In a letter sent to Everett Community College President Dr. David Beyer, the coalition of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Latino, Asian-American, and civil rights leaders stated in part:

To read the entire letter and the list of signatories, go to:

http://www.cair.com/Portals/0/pdf/evccletter.pdf

"We are a coalition of local faith and community leaders who are gravely concerned about Everett Community College's invitation to Raymond Ibrahim to speak on campus on May 5, 2011, as part of the EvCC Humanities Center's year-long 'Islam in America' series. . .

"Everything Mr. Ibrahim has done in his career seems to have the single-minded focus of portraying Islam and Muslims as evil, deceitful, conspiring to take over the world, and, at minimum, feeding the perpetual questioning and mistrust of their presence in the West. Mr. Ibrahim's goal appears to be to spread hate, and to convince others to hate and fear Muslims as much as he does.

"We fully support freedom of speech. However this is a case of privileged speech where Everett Community College has invited, promoted via online and print media as an 'expert,' and otherwise plans to provide an audience and a platform to Mr. Ibrahim on college property, using college resources. . .

"This not simply a political issue between liberals and conservatives, it is an issue of grave concern for all people in this country. Because Islamophobia has a profound impact on each of us, our families and our communities, we call on Everett Community College to meet the standards of all public institutions of higher learning which is to operate with integrity in the best interest of the larger community. . .

"By issuing Mr. Ibrahim an invitation, giving him an audience, and in any way providing him a platform, Everett Community College is complicit in inflaming a tinder box of hate and violence against Islam and Muslims, and is abusing its public trust as a federally funded educational institution. Therefore, we urge the College to cease its promotion of bigotry and hate speech by rescinding its invitation to Raymond Ibrahim to speak on campus."

CAIR publishes a "Challenging Islamophobia" pocket guide, which offers tips on dealing with anti-Islam rhetoric on the Internet, in the workplace and in schools and universities. The guide also offers advice for challenging anti-Muslim views espoused by public figures.

SEE: CAIR 'Challenging Islamophobia' Pocket Guide

http://tinyurl.com/3k5xvxv

CAIR-WA recently coordinated a panel discussion at Everett Community College as part of the college's lecture series. Some 150 panel attendees, many of whom had to listen to the panelists' presentations in an overflow room, asked questions about a variety of issues relating to Islam and Muslims.

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.

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CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-367-4081 or 206-931-3655, E-Mail: abukhari@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: arubin@cair.com

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations



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