American Muslim leaders express dismay at Secretary Clinton's closed door conference with Islamic Bloc countries
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
American Muslim leaders express dismay at Secretary
Clinton's closed door conference with Islamic Bloc countries
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 15, 2011) - A group of American Muslim leaders have expressed disappointment with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department for giving a platform to the Saudi-Based Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) campaign to suppress freedom of thought, expression and conscience, by hosting a 3 day conference in Washington, D.C. The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) issued a statement which said:
"This conference was hosted in the name of ‘combating [religious] intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization’, but in fact is likely to encourage the opposite. The U.S. is in danger of becoming a tool in the OIC's aggressive efforts to suppress freedom of speech for Muslims and non-Muslims alike throughout the world."
We ask the U.S. State Department to defend the interests of the United States—and of sincere people of faith throughout the world—by vigorously defending the First Amendment values that encouraged our families to come to this country; values that we cherish, and that allow us to study, discuss and practice our faith far more freely than is permitted in most Muslim-majority nations.
Rather than be intimidated by charges of "Islamophobia" or "defamation of religion," the U.S. and other Western governments should challenge OIC member states to realize the highest values of Islam, by allowing their citizens full freedom of thought, expression and conscience—as expressed in Qur'anic exhortations "to think," "remember," "inquire" and "understand deeply"—for "there shall be no coercion in matters of faith" (Qur'an 2:256).
We ask the State Department not to provide autocrats with a platform from which to divert attention from the systematic oppression of women, minorities and their citizens in general, which is characteristic of many OIC member states, including those at the forefront of the OIC's "defamation of religion" campaign.
If Secretary Clinton truly wants to advance ‘respect, empathy and tolerance,’ the ostensible goal of this meeting, she would do better to look to the millions of Muslims—at home and abroad—who adhere to a pluralistic, tolerant and peaceful understanding of Islam that encourages respect for freedom and human rights."
About the American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC)
The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) is a diverse coalition of liberty-minded, North American Muslim leaders and organizations. AILC’s mission advocates for defending the US Constitution, upholding religious pluralism, protecting American security and cherishing genuine diversity in the faith and practice of Islam. AILC provides a stark alternative to the Islamist organizations that claim to speak for what are diverse American Muslim communities. For more information on AILC, please visit our website at http://www.americanislamicleadership.org/.
AILC Coalition Signatories
M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D.
Manda Zand Ervin
Alliance for Democracy in Iran
Farzana Hassan, Ed.D.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
C. Holland Taylor
Chairman & CEO
Free Muslims Coaltion
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