Council on American-Islamic Relations Launches ‘Islamophobia’ Division
By Patrick Goodenough|CNSNews.com
Spurred by the controversies over Quran-burning and the planned Ground Zero mosque, the most visible Islamic advocacy organization in the United States says it is launching a department to deal with “Islamophobia.”
In doing so, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is following the example of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the 57-member bloc of Islamic states. The OIC set up an “observatory” five years ago to monitor and report on incidents and trends around the world it regards as amounting to “Islamophobia.”
CAIR, which calls itself “America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization,” said in a statement Monday that its executive director, Nihad Awad, had announced the move at the group’s annual banquet, held in Arlington, Va. on Saturday.
“We have seen a small but vocal group of bigots and hate-mongers manufacture an atmosphere of anti-Islam hysteria through smear campaigns that rely on distortions, misinformation and outright falsehoods,” Awad said.
The statement said the new “Islamophobia” department would produce an annual report tracking “trends in rhetorical attacks on Islam and Muslims and will offer accurate and balanced information to be used in the struggle for tolerance and mutual understanding.”
It would also “organize conferences, seminars, cultural exchanges, and other activities and events designed to provide opportunities for education and dialogue.”
“It will take joint efforts by people of goodwill of all faiths to challenge this epidemic of hate,” Awad said.