Monday, October 31, 2011

U.S. Muslims are not the enemy

Hassan Shibly | St. Petersburg Times | Letter to the Editor

It is concerning when politicians advocate for positions that are antithetical to our core values and constitutional principles and yet mainstream political organizations embrace them.

The Hernando County Republican Party hosted a dinner with U.S. Rep. Allen West and U.S. Senate candidate and former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, two politicians who instead of focusing on real issues that affect everyday hardworking Floridians, have focused their efforts on a disturbing smokescreen: the hysteria-myth that Islam is the enemy and we must be at war with Islam.

These politicians have used their political positions to promote their religious agenda. In an effort to alienate and lambaste the Muslim religious minority in the United States with false claims that we threaten American values and freedoms, the politicians have themselves threatened American values and freedoms.

American Muslims are not the enemy, nor is our faith. We are proud and loyal Americans. The beauty of American diversity is that we may disagree on issues relating to politics or foreign policy. But we can all agree that the Bill of Rights must be preserved for all and that innocent blood should never be shed.

We cannot let religious extremists — of any faith — guide our political discourse as Americans. I call on Republican leadership to remind their party members that they are also representatives of their Muslim constituents and that there is no room for such bigoted discourse in a civilized and free society.
Hassan Shibly, executive director, Council on American-Islamic Relations-Tampa

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