WASHINGTON, June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Southern California office of the
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today demanded that a
prominent national Jewish advocacy group apologize to Muslims for "hate-filled
Islamophobic rhetoric" distributed by one of its California offices.
A news release distributed Friday by the Orange County/Long Beach Regional
Office of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL) referred to the
Islamic declaration of faith, or shahada, as an "expression of hate" that is
"closely identified" with terrorism and is "offensive to Jewish Students." The
release also said the color green, commonly associated with the faith of
Islam, "is the color of Hamas."
The shahada, "There is no god but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of
God," is the core Muslim belief in the oneness of God and is one of the
"five pillars," of Islam. No person can be a Muslim without believing in
the shahada. (Ironically, the Jewish declaration of faith, the Shema
Yisrael similarly states: "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.")
The ADL made its statements in reference to a controversy started
by right-wing and pro-Israel groups over the decision by Muslim students at
the University of California, Irvine (UCI) to wear stoles bearing the shahada
at weekend graduation ceremonies. The stoles in question also say in Arabic:
"God, increase my knowledge." Opponents falsely claim that the stoles are an
expression of support for terrorism.
SEE: "GRADUATION STOLE RAISES TENSIONS"
"UCI GRADUATION CONTROVERSY IS OVERBLOWN, MUSLIM STUDENTS SAY"
"The ADL's hate-filled Islamophobic rhetoric labels all Muslims as
terrorists, because every Muslim believes in the declaration of faith as the
essence of Islam," said CAIR-LA Communications Director Sabiha Khan. "It is
truly sad that an organization that once fought for religious tolerance has
sunk to exploiting anti-Muslim ignorance and prejudice to advance the brutal
agenda of a foreign nation."
Just last month, unknown arsonists torched a UCI student display set up to
challenge the wall Israel is building on Palestinian land. The Orange County
Human Relations Commission recently released its 2003 annual report that
showed a 50 percent increase in hate incidents directed at members of the
Muslim and Arab-American community. (UCI is located in Orange County.) In
April, CAIR's own annual report on the status of American Muslim civil rights
showed a 70 percent increase in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide in 2003, with
the largest number of incidents occurring in California.
There are an estimated 600,000 Muslims in Southern California. CAIR,
America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in
Washington, D.C., and has 28 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in
CONTACT: CAIR-LA, Sabiha Khan, 714-776-1847, 714-390-0334, E-Mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-National, Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or
202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or
202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist's window to
the American Muslim community. Subscribers to the list, called ISLAM-INFONET,
receive news releases and other materials dealing with American Muslim
positions on issues of importance to our society.
To SUBSCRIBE to ISLAM-INFONET, go to:
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations