CAIR: Calif. Mayor Says He is 'Growing a Christian Community'

Jan 29, 2010, 22:07 ET from Council on American-Islamic Relations

Muslim group to file civil rights complaint with Department of Justice

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on California religious and political leaders, particularly Republicans, to speak out in support of religious diversity after a mayor in that state used an official event to claim he is "growing a Christian community."

CAIR-LA also said it will file a complaint about the mayor's remarks with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.   

In his state of the city address this week, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris told a group of 160 people:

"We're growing a Christian community, and don't let anybody shy away from that…I need (Lancaster community) standing up and saying we're a Christian community, and we're proud of that."

In the same address, the mayor said he wants voters to back a ballot measure endorsing prayers at city meetings that include reference to Jesus.

SEE: Parris Touts City as a 'Christian Community'

News reports describe Parris as a "staunch Republican."

"The mayor's remarks promoting a particular faith in his official capacity at an official city event seem to violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Elected officials should not use public positions to impose their religious beliefs on others," said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. "We also call on California's religious and political leaders to repudiate the mayor's remarks because they could serve to marginalize people of other faiths and Christians who value the separation of church and state."

Earlier this week, CAIR-LA sent a letter to Lancaster Councilwoman Sherry Marquez asking her to meet with members of the American Muslim and interfaith communities to discuss the negative impact of inflammatory anti-Islam remarks in a recent Facebook post.

Marquez wrote in reference to a murder trial in New York involving a Muslim defendant:

"This is what the Muslim religion is all about -- the beheadings, honor killings are just the beginning of what is to come in the USA. We are told this is a small majority [sic] of Muslim's [sic] in America, but it is truly what they are all about...You disrespect/dishonor them or their religion and you should die (they don't even blink at killing their own wives/daughters, because they are justified by their religion)..."

SEE: Council member Sherry Marquez's Facebook posting

In another post, Marquez claimed that "Obama is a Muslim." Her post links to a YouTube video titled "Obama Admits He is a Muslim."

SEE: Councilwoman Marquez Faces Criticism Over Anti-Muslim Comments

Marquez is a director of the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly.

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-Los Angeles Communications Manager Munira Syeda, 714-776-1847, 714-851-4851, E-Mail:; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail:

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations