WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on President Trump to repudiate the growing Islamophobia that has resulted in an unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes nationwide when he delivers his first address to a joint meeting of Congress tonight.
CAIR also called on the president to heed the advice of his new national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who reportedly advised him to stop using the controversial phrase "radical Islamic terrorism." McMaster reportedly told his staff that he - like many national security experts and American Muslim leaders - considers the term "unhelpful."
SEE: New NSC Chief Pushed Trump to Moderate His Language on Terrorism
In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"We urge President Trump to take the opportunity offered by his address tonight to a joint meeting of Congress to finally repudiate the growing Islamophobia that has resulted in an unprecedented increase in the reports of anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes nationwide. Unfortunately, it is President Trump's own policies, appointments and statements that have contributed to the mainstreaming of Islamophobia and anti-immigrant rhetoric. It is time for him to clearly state that he is the president of all Americans, including American Muslims, and that he rejects Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry."
Awad added: "President Trump should heed the sound advice of his new national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and that of the many other national security experts and leaders of the American Muslim community who all counsel against the counterproductive and Islamophobia-inducing phrase 'radical Islamic terrorism.' Like all Muslims, we believe terrorism can never be 'Islamic.'"
He also noted that former President George W. Bush spoke forcefully against anti-Islam incidents following the 9/11 terror attacks. President Bush's post-9/11 remarks at a Washington, D.C., mosque are frequently cited as helping to reduce the backlash targeting American Muslims.
CAIR has reported an increase in hate rhetoric and bias-motivated incidents targeting American Muslims and other minorities since the election of President Trump. Within just the last few days, CAIR has responded to an arson attack on a Florida mosque, a threatening note left at a Maryland mosque, a deadly shooting in Kansas in which the alleged gunman thought he was attacking "Middle Eastern" men, and a public threat in North Carolina to kill Muslims.
SEE: CAIR Asks Feds to Probe Threatening Note Left at Maryland Mosque
CAIR Offers Reward for Info on Fire Targeting Florida Mosque
CAIR-Kansas Seeks State, Federal Hate Crime Charges for Shooting of 'Middle Eastern' Men
Video: FBI Probes North Carolina Threats to 'Kill' American Muslims (CAIR)
A soon-to-be-published CAIR report on Islamophobia in America is expected to show that 2016 was the worst year on record for incidents in which mosques were targets of bias.
SEE: CAIR Urges Stepped-Up Protection for Alabama Mosques Following Email Threats
CAIR-Sacramento Welcomes Arrest in Davis Islamic Center Hate Vandalism Case
CAIR and the American Muslim community have also expressed solidarity with Jewish, Christian, Native American, African-American, and Sikh communities targeted by acts of hate, threats, violence, vandalism, arson, or bombings.
SEE: Condemns 2nd Wave of Threats Targeting Jewish Elementary School, Institutions in Maryland
CAIR-Philadelphia: Muslim Leaders Express Solidarity with Philly Jewish Cemetery After Headstones Are Vandalized
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html
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.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)