CAIR: Muslim Appointed to Fla. Commission Despite Smears
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/28/10) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported today that a Muslim university professor has been appointed to the Jacksonville, Fla., Human Rights Commission despite a prolonged smear campaign by the anti-Islam hate group ACT! for America, whose leader says Muslims should not be allowed to hold public office.
Parvez Ahmed, a professor at the University of North Florida, was appointed to the commission by a 13-6 city council vote last night after being subjected to weeks of smears based on his previous community activism and his political views. [Ahmed is a past national board chairman of CAIR.]
As the city council began discussion of the nomination, one of its members called Ahmed to the podium and asked him to "say a prayer to your God." The same council member also asked Ahmed if the session's opening prayer offended him. When asked why that was relevant, the council member claimed Ahmed "would be offended by a prayer to Jesus, and therefore was not suitable to serve on the commission."
The Florida Times-Union newspaper reports that the council member's inappropriate line of questioning "produced gasps from the audience, concern from one of the city's top attorneys and sharp rebukes from his fellow council members."
"The Florida Muslim community applauds the Jacksonville city council for standing up to the hatred and bigotry promoted by a tiny minority of fear-mongers," said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ramzy Kiliç. "This incident is further evidence of the unfortunately growing 'Islamophobia machine' in our nation that targets any Muslim who seeks positive civic participation."
He said the leader of ACT! for America, the hate group that campaigned against Ahmed's nomination, claims an American Muslim "cannot be a loyal citizen" and that Islam is the "real enemy." Brigitte Gabriel once told the Australian Jewish News: "Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim."
When asked whether Americans should "resist Muslims who want to seek political office in this nation," Gabriel said: "Absolutely. If a Muslim who has -- who is -- a practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah, who abides by Islam, who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day -- this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America."
One of ACT! for America's Florida representatives recently bragged in a YouTube videothat he desecrated the Quran, Islam's revealed text, and urinates in the washing stations Muslims use to perform their ritual ablutions (wudu) for prayer.
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.