Tuesday, March 9, 2010

AIR Responds to Rise in Anti-Islam Bias

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/8/2010) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today said it is responding to a number of incidents prompted by what the Muslim civil rights and advocacy group says is a rising level of bias incidents in the United States.

SEE: Anti-Muslim Prejudice Simmers (USA Today)

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CAIR chapters nationwide have responded to recent incidents targeting Muslims, including a Texas apartment complex refusing to rent to Muslims, Muslim men being detained for praying in Nevada, acts of hate vandalism at Tennessee mosques, threats against Muslims in Illinois, repeated calls for profiling of Muslim travelers, and a Muslim worker in California being fired for wearing an Islamic head scarf.

Just today, media outlets reported that a planned Wisconsin mosque faced oppositionbased on hostility to Muslims and that the election posters of Muslim candidates for student elections in Canada were defaced with Nazi swastikas.

The Canadian report came as the publisher of an anti-Muslim hate site refused to repudiate comments by one of its officials comparing Muslims to Nazis. [Those comments, and others suggesting how to disrupt Muslim prayers or otherwise harass Muslims, were posted in reference to the story of the Muslims detained for praying in Nevada.]

On Robert Spencer's "Jihad Watch" hate site, his Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald wrote:

"When I see thousands of people in a mosque, I am put in mind not of a gathering at St. Peter's, but rather, of a Nuremberg Rally, a horizontal collective affair, rather than vertical, with the prostration itself performing, or signifying, blind obedience of the kind that, at the real Nuremberg, is signified by the heil-hitlering salute of thousands, yelling in unison, and saluting, and re-saluting."

Spencer recently spoke at an anti-Islam gathering held to coincide with the nation's largest conservative conference.

"The active promotion of hate-filled Islamophobic rhetoric, particularly on the Internet, creates an atmosphere in which a tiny minority of bigoted individuals view the relative silence on this issue as tacit support for their intolerant actions," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

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.

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