(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/9/2010) — CAIR is asking Muslims and other people of conscience to support a major educational initiative in response to an extremist Gainesville, Fla., church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11.
SEE: Muslim Group to Distribute Replacement Qurans (CNN)
CAIR Video: Fla. Muslims Battle Anti-Islam Sentiment
Video: CAIR-OH Speaks Out Against Quran Burning
Video: CAIR-OK Launches Awareness Campaign as Church Plans to Burn Qurans
The “Learn, Don’t Burn” initiative will seek to distribute 200,000 copies of the Qurans to replace the 200 books that the Florida church plans to burn. The Qurans will be sponsored and distributed through CAIR’s ongoing “Explore the Quran” campaign.
SEE: Explore the Quran
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad will offer the khutba (sermon) for Eid ul-Fitr prayers in Gainesville on Friday and will hold a news conference in that city on Saturday following any Quran burnings.
In his Friday sermon, Awad will outline how Muslims and people of other faiths should respond to the burning.
“This unfortunate behavior on the part of the church’s officials should prompt stepped-up interfaith dialogue nationwide,” said Awad. “People may be surprised to learn about the commonalities between the Quran, the Bible and the Torah.”
Awad said research shows that there is a correlation between increasing knowledge of Islam and decreasing anti-Muslim prejudice — a fact that prompted CAIR’s new initiative. According to CAIR public opinion surveys, only two percent of Americans say they are “very knowledgeable” about Islam, and almost 60 percent say they are “not very knowledgeable” or “not at all knowledgeable” about the faith.
Today CAIR also released its new “Challenging Islamophobia” pocket guide, which offers tips on dealing with anti-Islam rhetoric on the Internet, in the workplace and in schools and universities. The guide also offers a definition of Islamophobia and advice for challenging anti-Muslim views espoused by public figures.
Yesterday, CAIR sent a letter today to CENTCOM Commander General James N. Mattis asking that he personally visit the Florida church to request that the September 11 burnings be cancelled.
Last week, CAIR distributed public service announcements (PSAs) designed to challenge growing anti-Muslim sentiment in American society. Those PSAs have already been viewed by more than 12 million people.
Earlier this month, CAIR released an online toolkit designed to help Muslim communities organize proactive local educational and outreach initiatives such as a “National Day of Unity and Healing” on the upcoming anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
The toolkit, called “A Teachable Moment Community Response Guide,” offers guidance, tools and resources to help Muslim communities respond to specific current events such as the end of Ramadan Eid al-Fitr holiday occurring near September 11, the upcoming “Burn a Koran Day” by the Florida church, the anti-Muslim bigotry generated by the smear campaign against a planned Islamic community center in Manhattan, and the ongoing tension and misunderstanding surrounding the building or expansion of mosques nationwide.
Immediate action requested to make this effort succeed:
- Make sincere du’aa and pray for the success of this educational effort.
- Sponsor one or more copies of the Quran by going to the “Explore the Quran” web site (http://www.explorethequran.com/) and encourage others to do the same.
- Share information about this initiative with friends, relatives and colleagues through e-mail lists, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- Encourage opinion leaders and policymakers you know to request a free Quran at: http://www.explorethequran.com
- Imams should dedicate a khutba to let congregations know about the duty to support this campaign by sponsoring Qurans.
- Donate to the campaign. If you would like to sponsor more than ten copies of the Quran, you may contact us at Quran@cair.com. You may also mail your sponsorship to CAIR at the following address: CAIR, Explore the Quran, 453 New Jersey Ave., SE in Washington, DC 20003.