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American Muslims alarmed at anti-Muslim response to Paris attacks

By       Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali     Permalink
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This family fled their home in Damascus in 2013 for refuge in Lebanon.
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The seven-million-strong American Muslim community was alarmed at the Islamophobic anti-Muslim response to Paris, France terrorist attacks which claimed 129 innocent lives and left around 300 people injured. American Muslims were deeply troubled that many American politicians have used the tragic terror attacks in Paris as a justification to promote xenophobia against Syrian refugees.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a leading civil advocacy group, condemned the lack of moral fortitude of the U.S. governors who announced their oppostion to accepting Syrian refugees in the wake of the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, France.

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The ADC urged elected officials to remember that the vast majority of Americans are the descendants of immigrants and refugees. The United States must not give in to fear or hate motivated bias by turning our back on our nation's fundamental commitment to refugee protection and human rights.

The ADC statement said: "We should not give in to propaganda and fear mongering that has exploited the tragedy of the terrorist attacks in France to perpetuate anti-Arab sentiment, Islamophobia, and xenophobia. Now is precisely the time to stand up for our democracy's core values."

Muslim Advocates and Interfaith Alliance also expressed their concern at by the anti-Muslim response by public officials to the Paris attacks. The group said "It is disturbing that public officials--including U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY)--would exploit the Paris tragedy to advance their own political agendas. At a time when we join the world to support the people of Paris, we are concerned that public officials like Rubio and King seek to divide instead of unite us."

In a Sunday interview with George Stephanopolous on ABC This Week, Senator Rubio compared Muslims to Nazis. Speaking on New York radio with John Catsimatidis also on Sunday, Representative King called for increased surveillance of American Muslim communities.

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"All Americans want to be kept safe from acts of violence, whatever the source. But promoting the idea of a "clash of civilizations" and suggesting extremist violence is rooted within Islam only serves to further the agenda of violent extremists. It also sends a dangerous signal that our American Muslim neighbors are a threat, worsening the environment of anti-Muslim bigotry and hate crimes," the Interfaith Alliance and Muslim Advocates said.

They called on the public officials to refrain from religious bigotry and focus instead on unity in the aftermath of the Paris tragedy. "There are real consequences to creating an anti-Muslim climate. In Florida over the weekend, a Tampa Bay area mosque received a threatening voicemail that warned of a militia coming to fire bomb the mosque and shoot worshippers. Local and federal law enforcement are investigating the threat."

The Islamic Circle of North America, a leading Muslim civil advocacy group, also expressed its concern over the rise of Islamophobic rhetoric coming from state governors across the country. "Our nation was founded by refugees fleeing repressive regimes, and therefore we must stand with all people of conscience in rejecting this bigotry and welcoming Syrian refugees who are fleeing terrorists," the ICNA statement said.

The ICNA called on all elected officials to do some soul searching and not allow themselves to be influenced by the whispers of fear mongers and Islamophobes. "It is not only against American values but also illegal under the U.S. constitution for governors to turn away refugees already accepted by the federal government."

Interfaith groups appalled by discriminatory rhetoric

"We are appalled by the punitive and discriminatory rhetoric and actions by many political leaders to restrict and deny the admission of Syrian refugees because they are Syrian, or because they are Muslim." United Church of Christ and the Christian Church said adding: "Such attitudes are contrary to our understanding of our nation's values; and to our reading of our sacred scriptures."

The United Church of Christ and the Christian Church statement stressed: "An unfortunate consequence of these attacks is the strident rhetoric of many politicians--including United States mayors, governors, and members of Congress--that effectively calls for the closing of the door and borders to innocent victims of the war in Syria. The Syrian war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our generation, and it has no resolution in sight. More than half the Syrian population has been forcibly displaced from their homes, and more than four million Syrians are now refugees in neighboring Middle Eastern countries and Europe. Over half of Syrian refugees are children. The people of Syria did not choose such horrific suffering. The "Islamic State" and the Asad regime are now the main visible protagonists, but they are surely not the only parties."

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"There's nothing Christlike about turning away people who are fleeing for their lives", said Faithful America, the largest online community of Christians.

"These elected officials want to turn away Syrian refugees simply because most of them are Muslim. But we cannot let this bigotry stand. Not as Jews. Not as Americans. Not as citizens of the world," Jewish Voices for Peace said adding, "we have to stand up to those who are using this moment to further entrench the racism, Islamophobia, and endless war at the root of the violence we grieve."

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 

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