—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
JAMAICA, New York (September, 9 2010) – In a press release issued today, the Islamic Circle of North America welcomed the decision of a local Gainesville church to suspend its proposed “Quran burning” event.
The decision comes after much controversy and condemnation, with high profile personalities such as General David Petraeus, Hilary Clinton and President Barack Obama weighing in. President Obama said the “stunt [was] contrary to American values,” and officials warned that if the event were carried out it would endanger American troops and provoke violence abroad.
ICNA welcomes the prevailing of common sense over Islamophobia, racism and bigoted views. We appeal to all to help calm the current atmosphere, which has become charged over opposition to various Islamic centers and attacks on Islamic institutions, Muslims and those who appear to be Muslims. Such ignorance and violence must not prevail.
Islam is a faith of billions worldwide, and we urge all Americans to read and understand its holy book to prevent an atmosphere that encourages such hateful acts in the future. We must return to the values of our founding fathers—justice and equality for all, and we encourage you to work for those values that will promote peace, understanding and a better environment for all Americans. In this regard, we ask that you continue to support the work of ICNA and numerous Muslim and interfaith organizations that promote respect and tolerance. We also thank all such organizations and religious and political leaders who have thus far stood beside reason and against bigotry.
A national survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reveals that only 45% of Americans personally know a Muslim; those who do are more likely to “express favorable views of Muslims and to see similarities between Islam and their own religion.” We encourage American Muslims to continue to reach out to friends, neighbors and co-workers and choose dialogue and discussion over hate and racism.