Black Muslims Responds To Mosque Controversy
WASHINGTON -- The Coalition of African American Muslims (CAAM) is holding a press conference tomorrow at the National Press Club in Washington to address the controversy over the Park 51 Project (Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan). According to the coalition, "The uprising is indicative of a general rise in racist bigotry towards people of color in this country. While the issue has its particular and unique distinctions, it cannot be separated from the rising violence against African Americans and Latinos, or the increasingly inflammatory rhetoric and exclusionary politics driving the national debate on immigration."
The coalition feels their perspective has been missing from an emerging national discussion. "We wish to join that discussion by first of all affirming that among our forbears are Muslims who have lived peacefully and productively in this country since its inception. We, and others among our people have sacrificed too much, both in enduring the horrors and brutalities of chattel slavery, and during the long march to freedom, civil and human rights for us to silently accept a return to Jim Crow exclusionary practices and policies that relegate either ourselves or our co-religionists from other ethnic backgrounds to second-class citizenry."
"We commend all of those Jews, Christians and members of other faith and ethnic communities who have raised their voices in defense of the constitutional rights of all Americans. We also laud the work that other Muslim organizations have done in response to the current situation. We add our voice to theirs and will work for a country that reflects the diversity of its people and extends full and equal rights to all.'
"Ultimately, our success as a nation of diverse people will hinge on our ability to move beyond the limitations that our unique identities sometimes impose on us and claim the loftiest principles rooted in our common humanity."
CAAM lists their goals as:
- Work to expose the underlying foreign and domestic agenda being served by the ongoing demonization of Muslims;
- Be a voice for those who have been intimidated into silence;
- Establish networks between organizations representing those elements of the population, regardless of race or religion, who are suffering as a result of the politics of fear and exclusion.