US media is reporting extensively on reactions by the US Muslim Brotherhood to the national controversy ignited by the “Ground Zero Mosque.” A CNS news report cites comments by Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) officials blaming the Tea Party and the Republican party:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is putting some of the blame on both the Tea Party and the Republican Party for what it sees as a growing tide of anti-Muslim anger. CAIR officials said the rise in “Islamophobia” stems from the controversy surrounding the Islamic center and mosque that Muslims plan to build a few blocks from Ground Zero. “We’ve seen a really strong uptick in Islamophobia recently – primarily sparked by the controversy over the Manhattan Islamic center,” Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s chief spokesman, told reporters at a press conference Wednesday. “We’ve seen hate vandalism at mosques in California; in Tennessee, we had an arson attack; at a mosque in Arlington, Texas, we had an arson attack; and something that wasn’t even reported nationwide, in May we had a bomb attack at a mosque in Jacksonville, Florida,” he said. Hooper said the attacks could be driven by many factors: “The question is, why? Is it tied to the November elections? Is it tied to the rise of the Tea Party movement? Is it tied to the economy?” he asked. “I think it’s pretty clear that it’s been sparked…by these hate groups and their opposition to the Islamic community center in Manhattan.” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad was even more direct, saying that the Tea Party and the GOP have given the “green light” to a nationwide campaign to deny Muslims their civil rights and ultimately expel them from the United States. “[W]e used to deal with individual cases of Islamophobia, harassments, and discrimination against Muslims,” Awad said. “Today, and in the past few months – almost maybe one year, we can say one year — we have seen an organized effort, we have seen organizations built to fight the presence of Muslims in the United States and to deny Muslims’ right to freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and even to be an elected official. “Unfortunately, this is done, we believe, for political convenience and reasons. The Pamela Gellers and Robert Spencers, they’re trying to spool religious hatred against Muslims for obvious reasons – because they do not want Muslims to be in the United States,” Awad said. (Geller, a blogger, is executive director of Stop Islamization of America; Spencer, a columnist, is director of Jihad Watch and has written a number of books critical of Islam.) Awad named the GOP and the Tea Party movement as the groups responsible for the anti-Muslim campaign. “Secondly, yes it is a mid-term election year, and unfortunately the Tea Party and the Republican Party have given the green light for these people to defame and stereotype Muslims, and unfortunately as we’ve said, these have led to violence against Muslims.”
In an effort to push back against negative views of Islam and Muslims, grassroots Muslim groups are launching a series of initiatives to convey to non-Muslim-Americans that they are also Americans. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a series of advertisements today that will run on national television, clearly intended to counter some of the furor over the proposed mosque near Ground Zero. In one spot, a New York firefighter who was a first responder after the Sept. 11 attacks talks about losing a loved one before announcing that he is a Muslim. CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said the point of the ad is to “challenge the notion that Muslims were not also targeted on 9/11.”…Meanwhile, Edina Lekovic, director of policy at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, is helping to organize a grassroots Muslim Day of Service planned for Sept. 11. The group coordinated more than 3,500 service projects in the past year as part of President Obama’s National Day of Service initiative, but Lekovic says the push is especially important now. “Given the climate in the country right now and the … intense levels of attacks that many Muslims are feeling, this effort is meant to channel those emotions toward something that is good both for our faith and our country,” Lekovic said. Rather than just be “outraged” over incidents like the group planning to burn Korans in Gainesville, Florida on Sept. 11, Lekovic told The Upshot the day of service is an opportunity to “show who we are rather than just talk about who we are.” A separate grassroots initiative called “My Faith My Voice” also launched an advertisment this week featuring Muslim-Americans saying they renounce terrorism and do not want to take over the country or impose their faith on anyone. “These are sincere efforts by everyday American Muslims to demonstrate who we are and that we are in every possible way just like every other American, and the kinds of awful and dangerous attacks that are happening now are fundamentally un-American,” Lekovic said. “We’re actually quite boring!”
US Muslim leaders called Wednesday for more protection from law enforcement amid what they described as a wave of “Islamophobia” over plans to build an Islamic centre and mosque near the site of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. “We ask for extra protection of the Muslim community,” Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said at a press conference. “We call on local state and federal authorities to provide extra protection for the Muslim community in the next days and weeks based on the kind of hysteria that was seen.” Several US Muslim groups pointed to protests over the proposed mosque as well as plans to burn copies of the Koran at a Florida church on September 11. They said organized efforts against Muslims seemed to be escalating. Imam Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society, praised former president George W Bush for standing up to those who would conflate Islam with terrorism. “We do not see this type of courage happening now,” he said, accusing both political parties as being more concerned about losing votes than standing up for them. The FBI should protect houses of worship and find those who commit acts of violence against them, said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, pointing to recent acts of vandalism at a mosque construction site in Tennessee. But he said it would not be appropriate for officers to attend prayer services, rather local police should step up patrols near mosques in order to protect worshippers.
A Hudson Institute report identifies CAIR, MPAC, and the MAS as part of the US Muslim Brotherhood.