This letter appeared in the Los Angeles Times on July 18, 2002.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Southern California (CAIR-LA) greatly appreciates Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl's sincere concern for the image of the American Muslim community. It is very important for our community to hear from Muslim academic scholars who present a unique perspective on issues. However, after reading his latest article, it seems to us that Dr. Abou El Fadl's busy schedule at UCLA might have caused him to miss the numerous statements and actions that CAIR and many other American Muslim organizations have undertaken since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
To set the record straight, CAIR would like to give a sample of its latest actions: Within two hours after the attacks on 9/11, a coalition of the largest American Muslim organizations consisting of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American Muslim Alliance, the American Muslim Council and the Muslim Public Affairs Council issued a joint statement condemning the terrorist attacks and "offered condolences to the families of those who were killed or injured. American Muslims utterly condemn what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts."
In a nationwide call on Sept. 11, the Council on American-Islamic Relations urged Muslim medical professionals to go to the scenes of the attacks to offer aid and comfort. It asked Muslim relief agencies to offer support in the recovery efforts and individual Muslims to donate blood and money. Many local and national Islamic charities have donated money to help victims regardless of religious affiliation. Ever since the tragic events, these same organizations have stated over and over again in the media the same condemnations and have joined with fellow Americans in hundreds of forums and town hall meetings across the country, to express the Muslim community's outrage and opposition to such acts of terrorism. CAIR took out a full page ad in the Washington Post the Sunday following the attacks stating its condemnation of the events of 9/11 and sending condolences to the victims and their families. The same feelings were expressed in dozens of commentaries published by CAIR writers in newspapers across the country.
CAIR is now working with other Islamic organizations on a major nationwidecampaign on the anniversary of 9/11 calling on all Americans for a day of unity and prayer. We are asking all faith communities to participate in the national observance by opening houses of worship on September 11, 2002, for interfaith visits, prayers, congregational exchanges, and other activities intended to foster national unity and religious tolerance.
We pray to Almighty Allah to grant us and our brother Khaled Abou El Fadl the ability to correct the misperceptions about Islam that many of our fellow Americans hold.