January 20th, 2009 18:05 EST
Obama's 'Encouraging' Statement to Muslim World
A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today congratulated President Barack Obama and welcomed an "encouraging" statement to the Muslim world in his inaugural address.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) commended President Obama for the overall positive tone of his address, and thanked him particularly for the statement: "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."
SEE: Obama Promises New Start with Muslims (Reuters)
"We hope this encouraging statement, coupled with a change in America`s previous policies toward the Muslim world, will help improve our nation`s image and promote a safe and prosperous future for all of humanity," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
He also welcomed President Obama`s statement, "As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals." Before being sworn in as president, Mr. Obama pledged to shut down the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and to end the use of interrogation techniques that many experts say rise to the level of torture.
SEE: President Barack Obama Sworn In (Denver Post)
Awad added that the American Muslim community and its institutions stand ready to work with the Obama administration on any positive domestic or international initiatives.
SEE: Muslims Welcome Leadership Change
In an open letter sent last month to then President-elect Obama, the American Muslim Taskforce for Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) called for greater outreach to Muslims, particularly on the issues of inclusion and access, policy development, personnel appointment, and peace.
SEE: Muslim Coalition Requests More Inclusion in New Administration (CNN)
CAIR, America`s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com