-—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—-
NEW YORK, NY (September 20, 2013) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) today welcomed the release of a comprehensive report on Islamophobia by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). The report highlights a well-funded and well-networked Islamophobe industry that has spent over $119 million in two years promoting prejudice and hate.
Although a slight decline is reported, more effort is needed to promote peace and understanding among communities. It is a strong reminder that the work of fighting hatred in society should not and cannot cease.
“We commend this great effort made by CAIR in exposing the Islamophobes and the Islamophobe industry.” said Naeem Baig, the president of ICNA.
The report also highlights the positive efforts by certain individuals and institutions to promote understanding, including ICNA’s “Defending Religious Freedom, Understanding Shariah” campaign. This campaign, which ran from 2011-2012, was covered by major news outlets, such as CNN, Reuters, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, AP, AFP, and The Huffington Post.
As part of this initiative, ICNA launched a toll-free hotline – 1-855-Shariah – and a website – DefendingReligiousFreedom.com. Additionally, it broadcasted and published television and radio public service announcements, billboards, 50,000 copies of a special issue of the Message Magazine, and thousands of other educational materials. Across the nation, seminars were organized in over 40 cities and more than 200 Friday sermons were conducted to increase interfaith understanding and awareness regarding religious freedom.
An observation listed by the report as a reason for optimism: “Tea party was defeated badly in 2012 elections. Islamophobes are on the defensive. The national Muslim organizations took grass roots initiatives to explain Shariah and to expose Islamophobes.”
“We look forward to working with CAIR and other organizations and combating this hatred in our society” said Baig.
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.