Fears over surge in US anti-Muslim attacks

Advocacy group CAIR also urges Muslims to exercise their vote in the 2012 election
Fears over surge in US anti-Muslim attacks
A number of Republican presidential candidates have increasingly used anti-Muslim sentiment
By Shane McGinley
Thu 29 Dec 2011 04:48 PM

A leading US Muslim advocacy group has expressed concern over an “unprecedented” rise in the number of attacks against the American Muslim community.

“We are witnessing an unprecedented increase in rhetorical and physical attacks on the American Muslim community and Islam,” the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) said as part of fund raising drive this week.

Washington DC-based CAIR cited a number of examples of the growing anti-Muslim sentiment. In the past year American mosques in Massachusetts, Oregon, Ohio, New York, Iowa, Maine, Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, California, and Michigan have been targeted by arson, vandalism or threats.

A state legislator in Tennessee called for a ban on Muslims in the military and an Illinois man who was reportedly perceived as "Middle Eastern" had his throat slit by an attacker wanting to "save his country", CAIR said.

“CAIR is challenging this disturbing growth of anti-Muslim bigotry and hate,” it added. This week, the organisation also launched its 2012 "Muslims Vote" campaign designed to empower American Muslims by increasing their political capacity and presence and to exercise their vote in the 2012 presidential election.

The move comes as a number of Republican presidential candidates have increasingly used anti-Muslim sentiment to try and garner support in the southern US states. Cain has admitted he would not hire a Muslim to his administration if he was elected president in 2012.

Former 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has said the adoption of Sharia law in the US would “be the downfall of America” and she “will not put up with any hint of Sharia law being any sort of law of the land."

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, also told campaigners he was calling for “a federal law that says Sharia law cannot be recognised by any court in the United States."

A frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president, Gingrich also angered the Arab community when he declared that Palestinians are an “invented” people and the peace process in the Middle East is “delusional.”

The Obama administration has pursued a foreign policy of propping up “people who hate us” with an “even-handedness” that’s “favouring the terrorists,” Gingrich said in an interview with The Jewish Channel, a cable television network.

"Remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire," Gingrich said in the interview. “We’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and I think it’s tragic.”

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