NIHAD AWAD OFFERS WAYS TO CHALLENGE ISLAMOPHOBIA
Nihad Awad spoke at recent OIC conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/7/10) -- Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) recently took part in a conference hosted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Brazil, at which he discussed ways to reverse the rising level of Islamophobia in Western societies.
The 17th Session of the Committee for the Coordination of Joint Islamic Action, held last week in Sao Paulo, was convened by OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and attended by representatives from some 40 nations. Brazilian government officials also took part in the conference.
In a panel discussion on Islamophobia and empowerment of Muslim communities in the West, Awad outlined the primary sources of Islamophobic rhetoric, described how Islamophobes seek to marginalize Muslims and demonize Islam, and focused on education and civic engagement as the most productive ways to challenge growing anti-Islam sentiment.
"Our research indicates that knowledge about Islam and Muslims is at a low level in the West, and that lower levels of knowledge correlate with increased anti-Islam prejudice," said Awad. "Education and engagement are key to challenging the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia."
The OIC is the second largest world inter-governmental organization after the United Nations and serves as the collective voice of the Muslim world. Its membership currently includes 57 Muslim-majority nations.