Islam In America

Islam In America

Coptic Christian & Muslim Leaders to Hold Joint Press Conference in Los Angeles

posted by Suzy Shuraym

On Monday, Sept. 17, 2012 at 11 a.m. PST, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Coptic Orthodox Church, Diocese of Los Angeles, will hold a press conference to stand together in strongly condemning all violent reactions that have been playing out over the past several days in the Middle East, according to a press release dated today [Sunday, 16 September 2012]. The release continues as follows:

His Grace Bishop Serapion, Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles and MPAC Senior Adviser Dr. Maher Hathout will stress the importance of the faith community standing together in light of the spreading attacks and rising tensions sparked by the amateur hate video, “Innocence of Muslims.”

“Our religions teach us to respond to hate speech with good speech and good work,” Dr. Hathout said. “The behavior exhibited does not speak for the majority of Muslims and are the actions of a small group. This irrational behavior cannot be allowed to spread, and this movie cannot be allowed to dictate our actions.”

“The actions of a few ignorant individuals do not represent the collective Diaspora Copts, nor do they represent the collective Muslim community,” Bishop Serapion said. “As Christians, we are proud of our core values that teach love and respect of others and we must act with accordance to our beliefs. It is in moments like these that we stand with those who share a common respect of all religions and love of humanity.”

In a statement to be released at the press conference on Monday, the two religious leaders will condemn desecration directed at any religion and condemn any attacks against religious communities, Coptic or Muslim in particular, both in Egypt and the U.S. Coptic Christian and Muslim leaders in Los Angeles have been meeting for the purposes of peacemaking and mutual understanding.

CAIR Releases Video Appeal in Arabic

posted by Suzy Shuraym

From the Council on American-Islamic Relations
15 September 2012

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today released a video appeal in Arabic to those protesting an anti-Islam film, portions of which have been circulating on the Internet.

In the video, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad tells viewers in the Middle East that ordinary Americans and the U.S. government should not be blamed for the religious hatred expressed in the film.

He explains that the low-quality production was designed to provoke religious sensitivities and to distract from the positive efforts being undertaken to improve newly-free societies in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Awad’s appeal notes that the controversy over the film distracts from more important issues such as the struggle for freedom in Syria, the need for justice for the Palestinian people and ongoing killings of Muslims in Burma.

He quoted a verse in the Qu’ran, Islam’s revealed text, which states that no soul will carry the burdens of another and asked viewers to emulate Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, who did not retaliate in kind to personal abuse. He also urged protesters to put their energies into rebuilding their societies.

Awad’s video appeal was filmed against a backdrop of a verse from the Qu’ran, which states: “A goodly word (is) like a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches (reach) to the heavens.” (14:24)

It ends with the recitation of a verse from the Quran: “You have indeed in the Messenger of God [Muhammad] a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in God and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of God.” (33:21)

Earlier this week, CAIR condemned the killings of American diplomats in Libya and said that extremists must not be allowed to control the political and religious discourse worldwide.

CAIR made that statement at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., at which representatives of CAIR and other Muslim organizations condemned both the killings of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats in that nation and the attack on the American embassy in Egypt.

CAIR had previously called on Muslims in the Middle East to ignore the distribution of the “trashy” anti-Islam film that resulted in the attacks in Libya, Egypt and other nations throughout the Muslim world.

Here’s CAIR’s video:

MPAC Weighs In

posted by Suzy Shuraym

From the Muslim Public Affairs Council
14 September 2012

During our nation’s commemoration of the 11th anniversary of 9/11, our country lost four heroes, one of which was U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens

Stevens was a dedicated servant, who, until his final moments, served his nation with honor and dignity. Stevens’ death has saddened and shocked the nation. President Barack Obama, in a statement on Wednesday, described Stevens as a “courageous and exemplary representative of the United States.”

He was a servant of the people. His colleagues, friends and loved ones described him as a man who immersed himself with the Libyan people and the country he served. He made it his mission to help the Libyan people rebuild their nation after years of oppression and tyranny. The sad reality is that his mission ended in the land he tirelessly worked to help.

The State Department describes the mission of a U.S. diplomat in the Foreign Service as “promoting peace, supporting prosperity and protecting American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad.”

Dina Duella, a Libyan American and adjunct faculty at Chapman University, spoke at a Muslim Public Affairs Council press conference about the heartbreak Libyans feel over Stevens’ death.

“Anyone who knew the late Ambassador Chris Stevens knew he was one of the greatest champions of the Libyan revolution,” she said. “These despicable attacks are the attacks of a few people and they are no way condoned by the vast majority of the Libyan people. This no way represents the religion of Islam, and this no way represents the Libyan people. There were some Libyans who died trying to save the ambassador and his staffers. Those Libyans who died are the true Muslims here and the true martyrs in this incident.”

Though the motive and reasons behind the attack are still unclear, one thing is certain: Islam unequivocally states that the killing of one innocent human being is equivalent to the killing of all of humanity.

Vigils have been organized around the country in memory of Stevens and those who lost their lives on that tragic day. MPAC encourages all people of conscience and character to attend and/or organize a vigil in their communities. It is important for us to come together during this difficult time and invite our interfaith neighbors to engage in a dialogue about the events that have unfolded this past week.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. In such a trying time, it is imperative to remember our strength as a nation lies in its unity.

Where Are the Adults?

posted by Suzy Shuraym

In a nutshell: “if friendship between Egypt and the United States is contingent upon no American ever saying anything that will offend the religious sensibilities of Egyptians, then it is time to declare that friendship dead.”

So writes Tarek Masoud in “Is This the Clash of Civilizations?”.

He continues, “a few minutes of badly acted, badly scripted, badly filmed video are not suddenly going to knock Islam off its perch as one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing religions.”

Where are the adults?

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