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Director’s Desk, April 24, 2015

By Jacob Bender
CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director

On April 10th, 11th and 12th, I joined my fellow CAIR Executive Directors from over 25 CAIR chapters around the country, together with CAIR staff and Board Members, for CAIR’s National Board Meeting in Washington, DC. The Meeting was also an occasion to celebrate CAIR National’s 20th Anniversary.

Workshops were held on such important topics as: “Talking about Race in the Muslim Community,” “Youth Outreach,” “Media Outreach,” “Social Media Skills,” “Outreach to Municipal and State Government,” “Countering Islamophobia,” “Building Partnerships,” “Fundraising Skills,” and “Volunteer Management.”

It was inspiring to hear stories from CAIR staff around the country, sharing programmatic ideas and strategies, and to know that the work we do in Philadelphia is being duplicated many times over in cities around the U.S. I remain convinced that CAIR is a unique and invaluable institution, not only in the Muslim community, but in American society at large.

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Executive Director Jacob Bender on Nick Taliaferro Show/WURD (audio)

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CAIR-Philadelphia Responds to Pamela Geller’s Hate Ads with Education (video)

NBC10

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CAIR-Philadelphia Condemns Bigoted Anti-Muslim Ads on SEPTA Buses, Urges SEPTA to Donate Money from Ads to City’s Homeless Population

CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Jacob Bender and Staff Attorney Ryan Tack-Hooper are available for media interviews about the response of the Philadelphia Muslim community to the anti-Muslim ads that will begin running this week on SEPTA buses. Call 267-515-6711 or 267-515-6712 or email info@philadelphia.cair.com to arrange an immediate interview.

“These ads are despicable and false, but fall under First Amendment protections,” Jacob Bender, CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director said. “The people behind these ads are part of a well-funded nation-wide Islamophobic campaign pushing a clearly hate-inspired message on the citizens of our fair city. One can only imagine the revulsion that tens of thousands of Muslim citizens will feel getting onto SEPTA buses.”

“The First Amendment protects everyone, the hateful and the loving alike,” according to Staff Attorney Ryan Tack-Hooper. “Instead of suppressing dishonest and offensive speech, the American tradition is to respond with speech of our own. You can be sure we will.”

CAIR-Philadelphia is asking SEPTA to donate the money they have received from the sponsors of these spiteful ads to organizations serving the city’s homeless population, thus turning hate into an action of charity and love. Read more…

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SEPTA loses fight to bar anti-Islam ads from buses

Newsworks
by Bobby Allyn
Newsworks

March 12, 2015

Ads linking Islam to Hitler may soon be seen on city buses around Philadelphia following a federal judge’s ruling that the group behind the ad campaign is protected by free speech.

Ryan Tack-Hooper, an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations Pennsylvania, said though he thinks the ads are false and hateful, SEPTA can’t argue with the Constitution.

“SEPTA’s in a tough spot because people want to see them fight this, but at the same time, we don’t want to have SEPTA damaging the First Amendment,” Tack-Hooper said. “This is not about SEPTA giving in. I think they’ve already gone above the call of duty by fighting this in the district court.”

Tack-Hooper said it’s not unlike allowing Nazi groups to march, or letting the Klu Klux Klan organize a public speech.

“One of the virtues of free speech is that bad ideas get expressed, and when we counter those bad ideas with knowledge and education, the people who previously might have harbored those ideas have the opportunity to reconsider,” Tack-Hooper said.

Read more at Newsworks.org

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