MEDIA DIGEST: CAIR-Chicago Responds to "Burn A Koran Day" and Islamophobia with Outreach and Education
With Pastor Terry Jones' "Burn A Koran Day" fiasco and the ongoing Park51 debate taking center stage in the media, CAIR-Chicago is taking action. We are challenging misinformation and anti-Muslim rhetoric through interfaith and outreach efforts to educate the public. You may have also seen us in the news recently, adding balanced and informed perspectives to public discourse.
See Recent Media Coverage Below:
- France 24: Ahmed Rehab and panel talk about Qur’an burning and Islamophobia in America
- WGN TV: Local Groups Battle Anti-Islam Sentiment
- FOX News: Ahmed Rehab Debates Whether America is Islamophobic
- ABC 7: Chicago area remembers terror attack victims
- FOX News: Ahmed Rehab Discusses a Proposed Mosque in Chicago and Park51 in Lower Manhattan
- Christian Science Monitor: Mosque debate: Behind America’s anxiety over Islam
- NY Daily News: ‘Muslims are our friends,’ President Obama says on eve of 9/11 anniversary
- 24 heures: American Muslims are mounting Islamophobia
- WGN TV: Ahmed Rehab Talks About Qur’an Burning Controversy
- FOX News, O’Reilly Factor: Ahmed Rehab Defends Imam Rauf’s Sound Reputation
- Huffington Post: Tea Party Reveals Real Reason Behind Mosque Opposition Frenzy
- FOX Chicago: “Islamophobia” and America’s Relationship with its Muslim citizens
- The National: Quran burning ‘a staged event that has grown like a cancer’
- Daily Herald: Leaders call for unity as Muslims mark Eid, nation observes 9/11
- WSBT 960 AM: Ahmed Rehab Discusses Planned Qur’an Burning on 9-11
- Christian Science Monitor: Pastor’s agreement to call off 9/11 Koran burning beset by confusion
- Fox News Radio: Ahmed Rehab Talks to Alan Colmes About Quran Burning Event
- CBS 2: The “Burning” Will Go On, Says Terry Jones
- Huff Post, Chicago Tribune: The Untold Story Behind the “Mosque at Ground Zero”
Ahmed Rehab talks to France 24's Mark Owen and various panelists about the proposed Qur'an burning. They also discuss the state of Islamophobia in America.
“This might be the first time many people get to hear exactly what the Quran says. Hopefully it’ll lead to asking more questions about Islam and reaching out to Muslims in the area,” said CAIR-Chicago Outreach Coordinator, Gerald Hankerson.
Ahmed Rehab debates guests on Fox Business’ Money Rocks regarding the rise of Islamophobia in America as seen by recent attacks against several mosques. Rehab and conservative commentator Bo Dietel also debate the merits of building a mosque in lower Manhattan, near Ground Zero.
“The extremists that caused the attacks on 9/11 do not represent the vast majority of Muslims who see Islam as a submission to God,” said Gerald Hankerson of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Ahmed Rehab talks to Fox Business’ Eric Bolling, along with other panelists, about a proposed mosque in Chicago whose zoning permit was rejected. Rehab compares and contrasts this mosque’s situation to that of Park51, the proposed Islamic community center in lower Manhattan.
“The fear is that Muslims cannot take their place in American life without harassment or subjugation or being seen as being involved with some conspiracy theory,” says Ahmed Rehab of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“He’s showing he’s on the right side of history,” said Ahmed Rehab, Chicago executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“There was never any expectation that (Obama) would support a particular project or its location," Rehab added. “There was an expectation that he would affirm religious freedom and respect for the law, and he’s done that.”
“We are at a crossroads. Today we see that an expression of Islamophobia was underlying all long,” said Ahmed Rehab. “Americans realize that there is Islamophobia at home, and we hope they will address it as we attack a disease.”
“This pastor is not exactly an example of honesty and integrity. He’s a radical, an extremist, and my take on him is that every faith unfortunately has its bad apples.” –Ahmed Rehab
Ahmed Rehab talks to the O’Reilly Factor’s Laura Ingraham about Imam Feisal Rauf’s sound reputation for interfaith cooperation and religious tolerance, and refutes lies that the Imam is a “radical”.
“In the public sphere, leaders of the opposition groups to the Not-At-Ground-Zero-Muslim-Center can’t seem to decide on an argument. They have thrown everything and the kitchen sink at us in the way of fabricated reasons,” writes Ahmed Rehab.
Mosque debates are taking place across the county, from New York City to Chicago to the surrounding suburbs. They are not all about zoning, but for the most part they are very heated.
Ahmed Rehab says “islamophobia” is sweeping America. The leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations describes the status of America’s Relationship with its Muslim citizens.
“There’s a problem with Islamophobia in this country and that’s a bad thing. But the good news is that it’s bubbling to the surface and we’re going to deal with it,” said Ahmed Rehab. “There needs to be a conversation that’s not being had. To be quite specific, where do we stand on American Muslims and their role in this country? Do they belong?”
“This is the holiest day for Muslims out of the year,” said Amina Sharif, communications coordinator for CAIR-Chicago. “And since this year it falls so close to 9/11, it’s an opportunity for us to discuss tolerance and peace. It’s a day that we pray for those who are struggling around the world, and that includes the families of 9/11 victims.”
In response to the proposed Qur’an burning on 9-11: “Our statement is in the form of the proactive work that we do especially now with 9-11 coming up which includes outreach, interfaith work, and dialogue. Essentially representing who we truly are, which is patriotic, freedom loving Muslims and Americans. That’s really our response to this sort-of hate mongering and campaign of misinformation.” –Ahmed Rehab
Initial reaction to the cancellation was more relief than happiness. “God works in wonderful ways, and it’s gotten people to talk about Islamophobia,” said Ahmed Rehab, spokesperson with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Mr. Rehab added: “The burning of the Koran is a serious offense. You won’t find a Muslim burning a Bible or a Torah.” The spokesman said, “Frankly, there’s no good reason to burn anybody’s sacred text. If you don’t like it, then debate it, but don’t burn it.”
“There are radicals in every community as we can see with this guy. He obviously doesn’t represent the Christian base, and we have people who don’t represent our faith but claim to as well,” said Ahmed Rehab. “More and more, we are seeing extremists from both sides hijacking the discourse.”
“When somebody does something that is this insane, the best response is to ignore them. Except the problem is that he is getting so much media attention that it is now a point of national debate,” says Ahmed Rehab.
The whole brouhaha about the "Mosque at Ground Zero" is frankly bogus. It has little to do with sacred ground, or sensitive hearts. It has everything to do with the exploitation of the sacred and the sensitive for the furtherance of the sacrilegious and the insensitive: the phenomenon of Muslim-bashing that is ravaging our nation.