'Hardball' Host Withdraws From Controversial FL Event Convention Will Honor Indian Official Linked to Gujarat Massacre

    WASHINGTON, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A prominent national Islamic civil
 rights and advocacy group today applauded MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris
 Matthews' decision not to speak at a Florida convention that will honor an
 Indian official accused of complicity in the massacre of Muslim civilians.
     A representative for Matthews told the Washington-based Council on
 American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that a "scheduling conflict" will prevent
 him from attending the annual convention of the Asian American Hotel Owners
 Association (AAHOA) later this month in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.  Narendra Modi,
 Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, is a keynote speaker at the
     Following anti-Muslim riots in 2002 that left more than 1000 civilians
 dead, senior officials in Gujarat said they had been directed by Modi to allow
 the massacres to run their course. Modi allegedly called the riots
 "anticipated Hindu reaction" and "a natural outpouring." Last Week, CAIR
 revealed that Modi's administration distributed a social studies textbook
 praising Adolf Hitler.
     (Modi is also scheduled to speak in New York on March 20th. SEE:
 http://www.narendramodi.net/agenda.htm )
     The Indian Muslim Council-USA and the newly-formed Coalition Against
 Genocide (CAG) had asked Matthews to withdraw from the Florida event. CAG is
 also planning protests in New York on March 20th and in Florida on March 24th.
 SEE: http://www.imc-usa.org/ and http://www.coalitionagainstgenocide.org/
     CAIR is urging the Bush administration to block Modi's entry based on a
 section (Sec. 604) of the International Religious Freedom Act that makes any
 foreign official who has engaged in "particularly severe violations of
 religious freedom" inadmissible to the United States.
     "We are pleased that Mr. Matthews and MSNBC will not be associated with a
 person accused of complicity in mass murder," said CAIR Executive Director
 Nihad Awad.
     CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 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.
     CONTACT:  Ibrahim Hooper, +1-202-488-8787, +1-202-744-7726,
 ihooper@cair-net.org, or Rabiah Ahmed, +1-202-488-8787, +1-202-439-1441,
 rahmed@cair-net.org, both of Council on American-Islamic Relations.
     NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist's window to
 the American Muslim community. To SUBSCRIBE to ISLAM-INFONET, go to:

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations

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