CAIR Concerned About Reported Rise in Militias, 'Patriot' Groups
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/2/10) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, today expressed concern about the reported rise in the number of anti-government and anti-immigrant extremist groups during the past year.
"Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called 'Patriot' groups -- militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose 'one-world government' on liberty-loving Americans -- came roaring back after years out of the limelight... The 'tea parties' and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism."
"American Muslims are concerned that groups expressing extremist anti-immigrant and anti-government views are the same ones that promote anti-Muslim bigotry," said CAIRNational Communications DirectorIbrahim Hooper. "Whenever extremism of any kind flourishes, all those who seek to preserve our nation's cherished values of tolerance and inclusion must speak out."
He added that CAIR condemned last month's politically-motivated airborne suicide attack on an IRS facility in Texas as an act of terrorism. CAIR also called on American leaders to repudiate a statement by former Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) seeming to advocate Jim Crow-era literacy tests for voting rights. Tancredo made those remarks at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tenn.
Hooper noted that a recent survey showed that more than 4 in 10 Americans admit to anti-Muslim prejudice.
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.