WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned a planned rally by White Supremacists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other racists this weekend in Charlottesville, Va., to protest the announced removal of a statue honoring a Confederate general.
Hundreds of racists from around the nation are expected to attend the "Unite the Right" rally on Saturday, August 12, to challenge the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a city park. Counter-demonstrations are planned by anti-racist activists.
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The group Congregate Charlottesville is calling for 1,000 clergy and faith leaders to go to Charlottesville to show spiritual opposition to the racist rally.
SEE: 1000 Clergy and Faith Leaders Urged to Come to Charlottesville for August 12
In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"White supremacism and other forms of racism and bigotry are a growing threat to our nation. We condemn what may be the largest gathering of racists and bigots in recent history scheduled to take place this Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"The stated motivation for the racist rally is to defend a Confederate memorial, but the underlying theme is the promotion of a movement unifying White supremacists, neo-Nazis, the KKK, militia members, Islamophobes, anti-Semites, and every other group of un-American extremists.
"Unfortunately, these bigots have been emboldened by the election of Donald Trump, and by his rhetoric, his appointments -- including White supremacists and Islamophobes such as Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka -- and his policies.
"It is particularly important that religious leaders of all faiths offer spiritual 'push-back' against the rising level of hate nationwide. While Islam does not have a clergy, we urge Islamic religious leaders (imams) and community activists to join in the growing movement challenging hate and promoting mutual understanding.
"The removal of the Confederate memorial in Charlottesville is just one small step in a larger effort to remove the vestiges of a racist past. We urge towns and cities nationwide to remove every statue and to change every name honoring those who betrayed and sought to divide America.
"Instead of honoring those who fought for slavery, we should instead honor the enslaved people whose uncompensated labor helped build this country and the leaders of the long, and unfinished struggle for civil rights and social justice."
CAIR said it has witnessed an unprecedented increase in hate incidents targeting members of minority groups since the election of Donald Trump.
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The Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization urges 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/report
CAIR recently launched an app to share critical "know your rights" information and to simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents. CAIR is urging American Muslims and members of other minority groups to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.
For a quick download of CAIR's civil rights app, click here: http://www.cair.com/app
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to 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.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)