MAS Freedom advances campaign for Muslims' right to build Mosques
WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Muslims worldwide have entered into the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the month in the Islamic lunar calendar in which Muslim are commanded by God to abstain from all food and drink from dawn until sunset each day. During Ramadan, Muslims place special emphasis on cultivating spiritual development, compassion, and generosity to others, especially the poor.
Muslim American Society Freedom (MASF) the civic advocacy and education component of the Muslim American Society, America's largest Muslim grassroots organization, has launched a national religious freedom campaign. The campaign calls upon Muslims, especially during Ramadan, to reach out to their neighbors and other faith communities to affirm Muslims' collective right to build mosques, as well as the right of all religious communities to build houses of worship.
MAS Freedom's "Protect Mosques and American Religious Freedom" campaign is the organization's response to a nationwide challenge from anti-Muslim groups to stop the building of mosques and Islamic institutions in America. The most notorious challenge to this right is the opposition to the plan of the Cordoba Initiative to build a multi-purpose center two blocks from the location of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
This project has been opposed by such political figures as Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. Other opposition groups, characterized by many observers as anti-Muslim, include organizations like "Stop the Islamization of America" led by conservative activist Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer's "Jihad Watch," and the Investigative Project headed by Steve Emerson (described by the Washington Post as a "controversial terrorism expert").
Abe Foxman and the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL) also publicly opposed the Cordoba Initiative project, but subsequently drew criticism from many religious freedom advocates, interfaith groups, and civil rights organizations. The award-winning CNN and Newsweek Magazine journalist Fareed Zakaria felt compelled to return a prestigious human rights award, and a generous honorarium, that he had previously received from the ADL. However, the Cordoba Initiative project received support from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and numerous prominent New Yorkers, including music producer Russell Simmons.
A study done by American University indicates that there is a growing national trend of opposition to the building and expansion of mosques and Islamic centers throughout America. Mahdi Bray, Executive Director of MAS Freedom, stated that, "There is a well-financed campaign in our country to demonize the American Muslim community. However, freedom of religious expression is protected by the Constitution of the United States. Our freedoms are not negotiable and second class citizenship for American Muslims is not an option."
Bray further stated that, "To those who would exploit fear and ignorance, we respond with faith over fear and justice for all. During this blessed month of Ramadan, we will continue to strive and focus on that which is good and noble within ourselves, our neighbors, and our nation."
For more information contact: Mahdi Bray at MAS Freedom at 1-888-627-8471 or at [email protected]
MAS Freedom (MASF) is a civic and human rights advocacy of the Muslim American Society (MAS), the largest Muslim, grassroots, charitable, religious, social, cultural, civic and educational organization in America - with 55 chapters in 35 states.
SOURCE MAS Freedom