The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today decried the wave of inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric following the Boston Marathon bombings and the revelation that the suspects in the case are Muslim.
CAIR also noted that Americans of all faiths have rejected the call by a minority of extremists to stereotype Muslims and Islam.
While at least two anti-Muslim hate attacks were linked to the bombings, CAIR says it has not received any reports of violent bias-motivated incidents since the suspects were identified.
“We believe it is a positive sign that the vast majority of Americans have rejected the type of guilt by association advocated by extremist commentators seeking to exploit the tragic events in Boston to further their personal agendas,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “As a nation, we have learned to judge a person based on their actions, not on their faith or ethnicity.”
Awad said the recent spike in hate rhetoric comes in the wake of a coordinated long-term effort by Islamophobic activists and groups to demonize Islam and marginalize American Muslims.
Just after last week’s bombings, CAIR issued a call for prayers and blood donations for the victims, and CAIR chapters nationwide have organized community events to condemn the attacks and show support for the victims.
CAIR also called on Fox News to sever ties with a regular guest who tweeted “Let’s kill them [Muslims] all” in response to the blasts. Thousands of emails were sent to Fox News executives through a CAIR action alert.
Since the bombings and Friday’s arrest of a suspect, Fox News turned to commentators like Frank Gaffney , who claim Muslim cooperation with the FBI weakens national security, and ACT! for America leader Hanah Kahwagi Tudor (a.k.a ” Brigitte Gabriel”), who claims an American Muslim “cannot be a loyal citizen” and that Islam is the “real enemy.”
Other right-wing commentators have exploited the Boston bombings to promote their own pre-existing political and religious agendas.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who is notorious for sponsoring a series of Islamophobic congressional hearings, called for increased law enforcement surveillance of law-abiding American Muslims.
Former congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois called for the profiling of all “young Muslim men.”
A New York state legislator called for the torture of the suspect who was apprehended.
Right-wing columnist Ann Coulter said she would like to see the alleged bomber’s widow in jail for “wearing a hijab (Islamic head scarf).”
Fox News host Bob Beckel recommended barring all Muslim students from coming to the United States.
Televangelist Pat Robertson even compared Islam to Nazism.