By Jacob Bender
CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director
On the average of about once every two months, our office receives a “hate call.” These calls usually come in after office hours (as the caller clearly has no interest in dialoguing with us) and are left on our voice message system. The messages are often filled with obscenities, in addition to the usual delusional Islamophobic rants. On occasion, the messages include clear threats of violence, which we have duly reported to the police. CAIR chapters around the country report similar patterns of harassing and menacing phone calls.
We believe it is important for the Philadelphia Muslim community to be aware of the kind of menacing messages we receive; hatred clearly generated in response to CAIR’s work in serving the Muslim community, protecting the rights of Muslims before the judicial system, and educating the American public with accurate information about Islam.
The following voice message was left on our system last Friday, May 29. We share it with you not to be sensationalist, but as an example of the virulent Islamophobia that is unfortunately becoming more and more open and outspoken in our country. WARNING: THIS RECORDING INCLUDES OBSCENITIES, AND IS NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN.
From my frequent interactions with the world-wide Muslim community since 9/11, and in my numerous conversations with many of you since coming to CAIR-Philadelphia in October 2013, I have learned that Islam teaches patience and non-violence in the face of hate speech: “Repel evil by that deed which is better,” says the Qur’an [41:34]. We are neither intimidated nor deterred in our work by these “voices of hate.” On the contrary, these hate calls make clear the necessity and vital importance of CAIR work for the well-being of the American Muslim community.