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CAIR-Philadelphia Condemns Murders in Manchester and Portland

(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 05/29/2017) — On this Memorial Day, The Philadelphia Chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) condemns in the strongest terms recent acts of horrific violence committed in Manchester and Portland.

Jacob Bender, Executive Director of CAIR-Philadelphia, said, “Whether done in the name of a warped and distorted understanding of Islam, as in England, or as a manifestation of the vile ideology of white supremacy, as in Oregon, there can never be any justification for these evil acts of extremist violence. The Qur’an is explicit in its condemnation of murder: ‘Whoever kills a person [unjustly] … it is as though he has killed all mankind.’” (Qur’an, 5:32)

CAIR-Philadelphia extends its condolences and prayers to the families of Ricky John Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Micah Fletcher in Portland, and to the families of all the those killed and wounded in Manchester. Osama Al-Qasem, President of CAIR-Philadelphia, said, “On this Memorial Day, coming as it does during the sacred month of Ramadan when Muslims are called upon to abstain from even anger, the entire Muslim community is united in their gratitude to the heroes in Portland and deeply mourns their deaths. The outpouring of support for these brave men is representative of the values of justice, peace and mercy that are central to both Islam and American democracy.”

CAIR-Philadelphia calls upon U.S. law enforcement officials to thoroughly investigate the white supremacy movement across the country.

See also: Muslims Fundraise for Families of the 3 Portland Heroes

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director, 917-660-3805, jbender@cair.com.

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Walk for Green Jobs and Justice

Walk for Green JobsCAIR-Philadelphia has endorsed the Power Local Green Jobs campaign led by our friends at Earth Quaker Action Team and Power Interfaith.

Walking through five countries throughout the Greater Philadelphia area, this direct action encourages PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest utility company, to make a major shift to locally-generated solar power that benefits low income communities and communities of color. This addresses three critical issues locally and for humanity at large: underemployment, crumbling infrastructure, and climate change.

Details of the daily local walk can be found on the EQAT website. The “Final Mile” of the Walk for Green Jobs and Justice will feature an address by Bill McKibben, America’s leading environmental activist. Invite your friends to the event on Facebook.

CAIR members are encouraged to join us on the final mile next Monday, May 22nd at 12pm at Thomas Paine Plaza in downtown Philadelphia with hundreds of Pennsylvanians, prominent clergy, and national leaders Bill McKibben of 350.org and Bishop Dwayne Royster, founder of POWER.

RSVP to the walk the final mile with us!

CAIR-members who cannot join the walk are encouraged to live in an environmentally conscientious way. We also recommend our members read the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change signed by Muslim leaders from around the world.

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In Defense of Free Speech

by Ryan Houldin,
CAIR-Philadelphia Civil Rights Attorney

Last week Robert Spencer spoke at Gettysburg College, at the request of the Young Americans for Freedom, an activist group with conservative views. Robert Spencer espouses extreme anti-Islamic views. According to Southern Poverty Law Center, his work was cited numerous times by the Norwegian terrorist that murdered over seventy people, and he has been deemed an extremist by the U.K. and thus barred from entering the country.

Prior to his scheduled appearance, more progressive Gettysburg students and faculty objected to his presence, and called for the President of the college to cancel the event. Several students reached out to CAIR-Philadelphia asking us to join in the call to prevent Robert Spencer from speaking at their campus. CAIR-Philadelphia declined to join in the call, and I’d like to explain why. Read more…

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March on Harrisburg: #endPAcorruption

Last spring was the beginning of a historic movement to end political corruption and restore democracy in the United States. The Democracy Spring movement began at Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and led a ten-night march to Washington, DC. Tens of thousands of people participated in non-violent direct action, garnering the support of over a hundred national lawmakers.

Locally, the non-partisan democracy reform movement has been gaining steam. Over the past few months, it has built relationships with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg. The movement asks them to commit to ending corruption in Pennsylvania by introducing three laws that ban legalized bribery, end gerrymandering (where politicians choose their district voters by deliberately drawing maps to split communities, especially minorities and people of color), and automatically registers voters. Read more…

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American-Muslim Advocacy on Capitol Hill

Last weekend, CAIR-Philadelphia members marched alongside over 100,000 Americans at the People’s Climate March on Washington with an additional 100,000 taking part in local actions around the United States. We demanded the government shift to clean energy, create green jobs, and take action to prevent human suffering caused by pollution and climate change. Read more…

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