Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CAIR Welcomes President's Support for U.S. Muslims in State of The Union Address

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/25/11) –- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) tonight welcomed President Obama's support for the American Muslim community in his State of the Union address before Congress.

In tonight's address, the president said: (The quote below is from the president's prepared text. His actual remarks may differ slightly.)

"And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family."

"At a time when American Muslims face the prospect of agenda-driven hearings in Congress targeting their community, we welcome President Obama's decision to emphasize the fact that Muslims are contributing members of our society," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "It was a timely and important reminder to our nation's leaders and the viewing audience that America's strength and security lie in the unity of its people."

SEE: In Congress, Anti-Muslim Bigotry Gaining a Strong Foothold

Earlier today, Awad discussed what the president might say in tonight's State of the Union Address during an appearance on National Public Radio (NPR). He also discussed the need for civility in public discourse.

SEE: Obama Draws Strategy for Remainder of Term (NPR)

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.

- END -

Labels: , , ,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nihad Awad: 'MLK is an Example to American Muslims'

By Nihad Awad
Word Count: 567

[Nihad Awad is national executive director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties group. He may be contacted at: ]

As American Muslims face the challenge of rising anti-Islam sentiment in American society, we can benefit from the example of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who used the power of truth and justice to peacefully overcome those who promoted fear and its resulting prejudice and intolerance.

Like African-Americans who faced far more severe challenges in the 50s and 60s, American Muslims are now the easy targets of unreasoned hate and suspicion. Like Dr. King, American Muslims must respond to hate with love and understanding.

Dr. King accurately noted that, "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." He also said, "Let no man pull you low enough to hate him."

This refusal to let the hatred of others impact one's principles or actions is reflected in the Quran, Islam's revealed text, which
states: "Be steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity, and never let the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: (for) that is closest to piety." (The Holy Quran, 5:8)

In his letter from a Birmingham jail cell, Dr. King wrote that, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." This statement clearly indicated that the quest for justice is universal and not limited to a particular time or movement, and that everyone must rise to confront the injustices of his or her own time and place.

As Dr. King wrote: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

These words strengthen American Muslims as we face the twin tests brought on by those few who would falsely claim to commit violence in the name of my faith and by those who seek to exploit fear and mistrust to marginalize an entire minority community.

In his most famous speech, Dr. King said:

"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be
self-evident: that all men are created equal.'. . .

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

This hope for equality was also expressed by Islam's Prophet Muhammad, who said in his final sermon: "All mankind is from Adam and Eve. . .a white (person) has no superiority over a black (person), nor does a black have any superiority over a white - except by piety and good action."

American Muslims dream the same dream as Dr. King and all those who struggled during the civil rights movement -- that the promise of justice and equality may be fulfilled for all our nation's children.

Dr. King said it best when he noted, "The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers."

His legacy of civility, hope, perseverance, and optimism is best honored through actions that continue to make his dream our reality.


Monday, January 10, 2011

CAIR Offers Condolences on Arizona Shooting Spree

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/9/11) –- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today offered condolences to the loved ones of all those killed or injured in yesterday's shooting spree in Tucson, Ariz., that left six people dead and left Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life with a bullet wound to the brain. Those killed included a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.

In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:

"We offer sincere condolences to the friends, colleagues and family members of all those killed or injured in this brutal and senseless attack. We must come together as a nation to mourn the dead, pray for the speedy recovery of the injured and reject the extreme partisanship and inflammatory political rhetoric that can contribute to such tragedies."

Anas Hlayhel, chairman of CAIR’s Arizona chapter said: "Congresswoman Giffords is a great friend of the Arizona Muslim community. We pray for her full and speedy recovery. Our prayers are also with all who have been hurt by this horrible act of violence."

Labels: , , ,