—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
JAMAICA, New York (March 7, 2011) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) issued a press release today thanking the public for messages of support after footage from an anti-Muslim rally in Orange County became public this week.
“We are deeply moved by the outpouring of support from our fellow Americans,” said Dr. Zahid Bukhari, President of ICNA. “You have shown today what our great nation truly stands for—inclusion, tolerance, respect, and understanding between people of all backgrounds and faiths. We at ICNA thank you for your show of solidarity in the face of bigotry and ignorance.”
“Martin Luther King Jr. once said that ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ It is our sincerest hope that the footage from the February 13th rally encourages Americans to speak out against the unfair treatment of any of their neighbors—Muslim or Jewish, black or white. Now is the time to add your voice of peace and moderation to the mix.
“We urge you to contact congressional representatives and organizers and participants of the rally with utmost civility and respect. ICNA’s goal is to promote dialogue and put an end to intolerance, and we can only do so if we refuse to participate in hateful rhetoric.”
ICNA Relief shared some of the over 500 messages of support it received from across the country and the world:
• “I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate the efforts of your organization to raise money for women’s shelters and the homeless. I am deeply sorry that your event last month was interrupted by the hateful protesters, and I felt inclined to tell you that despite what a minority might say, your aid to the less fortunate is looked upon with admiration.”- Megan Z., CA
• “I made a small donation to ICNA USA relief efforts. I am not Muslim but I am a human being (a gay, Catholic, American) who works for justice and peace and was heartbroken and disgusted to see the OC protesters acting in such hate. May you find blessings, peace, and love in all your organization’s work.”- Ricky R., NY
• “I was shocked and horrified to hear of the protests that beset your fundraiser. The people who protested you are ignorant, hateful people who do not truly reflect the views of Americans. I am sure that the recent Islamic backlash has been extremely difficult for your community. You should know that many Americans know how much your religious community has brought to our country and we support charities like yours wholeheartedly.”- Andi V., MI
• “I just wanted to let you know that not all non-Muslim people in the area feel the way that was presented in the video. I think that the fundraising you were doing was for an honorable cause, and I personally feel that this country is large enough for a variety of beliefs, and enjoy having a Muslim community in our midst. Good luck to you and your organization.”- Jennifer P., CA
• “Though I know we have many extremist groups in America, I was still taken aback by the horrible, unfair statements made by the protesting citizens and senators. I want to live in an America where we can all be proud of and respected for our various backgrounds and beliefs. Frankly, our forefathers founded America for that ideal, not to see hateful freedom of speech practiced. Please know that for every loud angry voice, there are many less boisterous supportive voices. ICNA does good work for our country. It’s time for the quieter, moderate voices to stand up to the loud voices of injustice and support organizations like yours.”- Elyse L., OH
• “I recently came to view the video of the Yorba Linda, CA, ICNA Relief fundraiser dinner, and I want to first applaud the work I see your organization is doing. You are truly a blessing to your neighbors! Providing food, shelters, and education for the community. Secondly, I want to express the sorrow I feel at seeing such righteousness being met with hate. My heart feels sorry such attitudes exist in the world and even our communities in the U.S. Please do not lose heart, but know that good people are always behind you!”- Nathaniel L., TX
I saw the footage today of your fundraiser and was completely horrified at the behavior of those people. Seeing this footage inspired me to always speak out in the defense of people of any religion who receive harassment of any type.
I am a 42 year old caucasian male who was raised by conservative parents. My upbringing was filled with love and acceptance. I was horrified when I watched the video. My mouth was literally open. I was stunned that Americans could be filled with so much hate. But more specific filled with so much hate towards fellow Americans. I want to let the Muslim community know that these people are the vocal minority. Most Americans are filled with love. But sadly the loudest people get all the press. The good news is you have the numbers to help vote out anyone who expresses hate – whether they are Democrat or Republican. Vote out the hate. And don’t forget the hate. Because come voting season these people will pretend that they are on your side. Remember the hate – vote out the hate.
as an american who deeply cares about the civil rights of all americans and as a human being who was horrified by te display of idiocy, bigotry, and intolerance at the 13 february rally, i was stand with your organization in asking the gop to renounce its islamophobic actions and ask my fellow americans, particularly those americans who use christianity as an excuse to hate, to do unto others as you would have done to you, and to love your brothers and sisters as much as you love your god and yourself.
In the 30’s in Germany it was the Jews that Germans were called upon to hate. Now it’s Muslims. Please note who is behind the attacks. It is the GOP. They will use fiery rhetoric in the next election, threatening to put all Muslims in internment camps to keep those that they pander to “safe” and be elected.Why do we always have some group to hate?
I have no words that will express my disgust. This was a wonderful letter in response to those elected officials who chose to take part in this KKK type event. I agree with Markus Taylor regarding your vote. At least they have un-masked themselves to all, and you now know who NOT to vote for the next time around.
Please know that the majority of Americans do not uphold this kind of hateful behaviour.
I grew up under segregation in this country that I love so much, and I clearly identified with the Muslims in the Orange County video. The behavior of these protesters is despicable and brought back memories of what it was like to experience the hatred of people like these in 1950s and 1960s America. I stand with your organization and Muslims in America against this type of ugliness. I join with you in condemning it, and I can assure you that you have my overwhelming support as we fight to make sure that the continued demonization of Muslims goes no further. The America I learned about as a child is NOT a place where any type of intolerance should be allowed to thrive.
Please, know that most of us in southern Californian stand with you in spirit and voice
I am so outraged and horrified at the behavior of the counter-demonstrators. They look like the hate-filled faces from when the schools in the Deep South were racially integrated. I hope in the future, when they have been exposed as the racist haters they are, their children and grandchildren are deeply, deeply ashamed of them.
Please know I and many others support your efforts.
I watched the video and was shocked at the hate and vitriol, and disgusted not least by the fact that some of those spewing this shameful, shameful garbage were elected representatives of the people. Had they forgotten that, once elected, they represent ALL the people of their districts?
I cannot imagine any sitting representatives in a democracy anywhere in the world behaving like this.
I had been planning a family vacation to the U.S. this summer. For my children, it would have been their first trip to America, but now I fear to bring them, because we happen to be brown-skinned and will have to fear for our safety.
I may be an atheist, but I don’t think people such as those in that video will care.
I am so sorry that this happened. I was shocked by the outrageous behavior of these people. Please know that they are a tiny minority.
I hope that if they try and do this again maybe we can come and shield you like so many good folks are doing with the Westbro Baptists.
I will be happy to stand in the way of these awful people.
It is a shame that democracy allows such hate speech, especially from elected officials. I fully believe in free speech, but this should be called for what it is, incitement to violence. And there should be serious consequences for ANYONE who engages in such behavior.
Where does it stop? People are being killed by those who are incited to violence by such rhetoric. Violent rhetoric may have been around before $arah Palin hit the national scene, but it has accelerated exponentially since then. Again, where will it end?
See, not all of us from Wasilla AK are knuckle dragging neanderthal hillbillies…
They were saying Muslims are violent and hateful, but look at the protesters. MashaAllaah the Muslims there peacefully walked away from the insults and the threats thrown at them.
‘And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, ‘Peace!’ (Qur’an 25:63) ♥
Regarding how they were insulting RasulAllaah (sws), it’s a common insult that people throw around these days. I know this may be an uncomfortable topic to bring up, but since people like those in the video make the Prophet’s married life their favorite target subject and overlook everything else to make the age or number of wives of the Prophet their point of interest as a last resort character-assassination, I thought I’d address how I explain it to people (and hope that you might find it helpful too):
There is a big difference when it comes to societal values of 7th century Arabia verses 21st century America – cultural norms and values change from time and place (even our own societal values in America were very different in the 7th century as compared to today). Prophet Muhammad did marry Aisha when she was 9 years old, and he and his wife consummated the marriage after she reached puberty. Puberty is the age that a Muslim -both men and women- are considered to be adults.
Also, keep in mind that it was over 1,400 years ago- it was culture back then to get married young, and people (including non-Muslims) at the time didn’t have a problem with it. Ayesha was even engaged before that to another man who was much older than her, but the engagement was broken off because the fiancé was a non-Muslim; getting married young was culture back then. Even the Virgin Mary had Jesus when she was around the age of 12…people back then lived shorter lives and got married at younger ages, and this isn’t so much the case anymore.
Character-assassination of a prophet is nothing new. There is a general trend that prophets were ridiculed in one way or another. And people can use facts and turn it around to make anything sound twisted. For example, I saw a bumper sticker once reading: “Mary was a unmarried, pregnant teenager” …see how they took the example of such a pious, believing woman and made her sound promiscuous? See how that is insulting and twisting the facts, even though they claim to be just stating them?
Now let’s put our assumptions aside and look at Prophet Muhammad’s wife’s point of view – she loved her husband dearly, and in fact she is the source of many of the hadith (stories of the Prophet Muhammad) that we have today, as she worked to spread the message of Islam for the rest of her life. Aisha spoke of how wonderful of a husband he was, and how much she loved him.