—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
ALEXANDRIA, VA (MASNET) Jan. 12, 2010 – On January 11, 2010 the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a statement characterizing the December, 2009 joint MAS/ICNA Conference in Chicago as a “sham” and a “cover for anti-Semitism and extremism”.
This characterization was based on statements and presentations, reportedly made by speakers at the conference that made disparaging comments about the Jewish people and allegedly called for the destruction of the State of Israel. Unfortunately, this characterization of our conference – a gathering of nearly 4,000 people from numerous organizations throughout the United States – failed to recognize the broader objective of the event, which did, indeed, call for the rejection of extremism and the promotion of the positive engagement of the American Muslim community in the civic life of the nation.
This theme was reflected in many workshops and sessions and particularly in a session where some 700 Muslim youth from across the nation gathered to discuss the need to reject violence and extremism, while following a “straight path” of service to our community and nation.
In response to the ADL’s statement, both MAS and ICNA categorically state that our organizations do not affirm any statements that reflect hatred of the Jewish people, or any other religious or ethnic community, or that call for the destruction of Israel. If any such unfortunate statements were made by any speakers at our conference in Chicago, we deeply regret them and affirm that such individuals will not be invited to future conferences.
We acknowledge the work of the ADL as a major advocacy organization that defends the legitimate human rights of the Jewish people. However, we believe that human rights are universal, and that they must apply not only to the Jewish people and the people of Israel, but equally to the people of Palestine, who suffer from both Israeli occupation and, within the state of Israel itself, systematic discrimination.
Both MAS and ICNA will continue to support the development of Muslim youth, as well as the entire Muslim-American community, and will continue to encourage our community’s contribution to building a more just society and world that is free from all forms of prejudice and violence. We welcome constructive and mutually respectful dialogue with the leadership of the ADL toward this end.
The Muslim American Society (MAS) is a charitable, religious, social, cultural, and educational, not-for-profit organization. It is a pioneering Islamic organization, an Islamic revival, and reform movement that uplift the individual, family, and society. Learn more visit http://www.masnet.org.