—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
JAMAICA, New York (March 7, 2011) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) issued a press release today thanking the public for messages of support after footage from an anti-Muslim rally in Orange County became public this week.
“We are deeply moved by the outpouring of support from our fellow Americans,” said Dr. Zahid Bukhari, President of ICNA. “You have shown today what our great nation truly stands for—inclusion, tolerance, respect, and understanding between people of all backgrounds and faiths. We at ICNA thank you for your show of solidarity in the face of bigotry and ignorance.”
“Martin Luther King Jr. once said that ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ It is our sincerest hope that the footage from the February 13th rally encourages Americans to speak out against the unfair treatment of any of their neighbors—Muslim or Jewish, black or white. Now is the time to add your voice of peace and moderation to the mix.
“We urge you to contact congressional representatives and organizers and participants of the rally with utmost civility and respect. ICNA’s goal is to promote dialogue and put an end to intolerance, and we can only do so if we refuse to participate in hateful rhetoric.”
ICNA Relief shared some of the over 500 messages of support it received from across the country and the world:
• “I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate the efforts of your organization to raise money for women’s shelters and the homeless. I am deeply sorry that your event last month was interrupted by the hateful protesters, and I felt inclined to tell you that despite what a minority might say, your aid to the less fortunate is looked upon with admiration.”- Megan Z., CA
• “I made a small donation to ICNA USA relief efforts. I am not Muslim but I am a human being (a gay, Catholic, American) who works for justice and peace and was heartbroken and disgusted to see the OC protesters acting in such hate. May you find blessings, peace, and love in all your organization’s work.”- Ricky R., NY
• “I was shocked and horrified to hear of the protests that beset your fundraiser. The people who protested you are ignorant, hateful people who do not truly reflect the views of Americans. I am sure that the recent Islamic backlash has been extremely difficult for your community. You should know that many Americans know how much your religious community has brought to our country and we support charities like yours wholeheartedly.”- Andi V., MI
• “I just wanted to let you know that not all non-Muslim people in the area feel the way that was presented in the video. I think that the fundraising you were doing was for an honorable cause, and I personally feel that this country is large enough for a variety of beliefs, and enjoy having a Muslim community in our midst. Good luck to you and your organization.”- Jennifer P., CA
• “Though I know we have many extremist groups in America, I was still taken aback by the horrible, unfair statements made by the protesting citizens and senators. I want to live in an America where we can all be proud of and respected for our various backgrounds and beliefs. Frankly, our forefathers founded America for that ideal, not to see hateful freedom of speech practiced. Please know that for every loud angry voice, there are many less boisterous supportive voices. ICNA does good work for our country. It’s time for the quieter, moderate voices to stand up to the loud voices of injustice and support organizations like yours.”- Elyse L., OH
• “I recently came to view the video of the Yorba Linda, CA, ICNA Relief fundraiser dinner, and I want to first applaud the work I see your organization is doing. You are truly a blessing to your neighbors! Providing food, shelters, and education for the community. Secondly, I want to express the sorrow I feel at seeing such righteousness being met with hate. My heart feels sorry such attitudes exist in the world and even our communities in the U.S. Please do not lose heart, but know that good people are always behind you!”- Nathaniel L., TX
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. It serves as both a reminder of one of the most traumatizing occurrences to unfold on American soil and as a testimony to the resilience of every community living here in America.