Muslim organization believes that lawsuit filed by CAIR on behalf of local Phoenix imams is wrong for American Muslims and wrong for America.
[PHOENIX, AZ: March 13, 2007]: Wide media attention is being given today to the lawsuit filed by CAIR on behalf of six imams against U.S. Airways for their claims of discrimination against race and religion. Most of the imams are from local mosques here in Phoenix and were removed from a U.S. Airways flight on November 21, 2006 en route to Phoenix from Minneapolis.
AIFD would like the American public to be aware of our following positions representing an alternative voice from the American Muslim community.
1. We will not accept the victimization agenda of organizations like CAIR. Lawsuits like the one announced today exploit the climate of political correctness and at the end of the day are harmful to the Muslim minority in America.
2. Make no mistake, this type of agenda and policy direction of organizations like CAIR only represents its own membership and its own donors. A relatively small percentage of the 5-6 million American Muslims are enrolled as members of CAIR. Recent considerable donations to CAIR upwards of a combined $100 million from foreign nations like Dubai and Saudi Arabia make these types of costly, distractive actions against domestic airlines such as US Airways very concerning in its manifestation of foreign interference.
3. One of the frontlines in the war on terror is at the airports and at the gates. While the imams were clearly removed for their behavior after entering the plane, it should be made clear that many less rigid but equally pious Muslims believe (including 3 out of 6 of the imams for that matter) that the prayer they performed could have been performed upon landing in Phoenix due to travel dispensations in Islam or privately on time while seated on the flight. Muslims believe that God is forgiving and does not expect religion to be “too difficult”.
4. While the six imams’ handlers, CAIR, and their lawyers may have some kind of obscure basis for their lawsuit, it is our belief that the fallout and publicity from such litigation is wrong for American Muslims, wrong for American security, and wrong for American freedoms. The greatest guarantor of our rights as American Muslims is the tenor of our relationship with the greater majority of American society. This type of litigiousness is divisive and achieves nothing but resentment and actually causes far more harm than good to the overall image of the Muslim community in the eyes of non-Muslim America.
4. It is our hope as Americans and as Muslims that U.S. Airways stand firm in its defense of its actions to have the gentleman removed for concerns regarding their behavior after entering the plane. This is not about race or religion. It is about the privilege to fly securely.
5. The constant exploitation of America’s culture of political correctness especially in this setting of what is the most dangerous environment of air travel is out of touch with America’s priorities. Such misguided priorities by Muslim activist organizations like CAIR will make the legitimate defense of our civil rights far more difficult when more serious complaints of racism and discrimination are involved. America is quickly becoming numb to their constant refrains and the polls demonstrate the profound ineffectiveness of their tiring campaigns.
6. The organized Muslim community should instead be working on developing a strategic plan to counter militant Islamism within the Muslim community. That would do a lot more to change public opinion than suing the airlines who are trying to keep Americans who travel safe.
The American Islamic Forum for Democracy is a think-tank based in Phoenix, Arizona founded on the compatibility of American Constitutional democracy and our citizenship pledge with our personal and spiritual faith of Islam. Our mission is to separate religion and politics in the practice of Islam.
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