The Crescent Report

August 17, 2010

MAS Freedom Press Conference Demonstrates Broad Interfaith Support for Muslim Religious Freedoms, Mosque Construction

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 4:24 pm

Introduction: You know your real friends in times of crisis. We salute those who stood with us today in defense of religious freedom at the National Press club. And we salute all those with in our nation who stand with us in defending the cherished principals of liberty ans religious freedom. Check out he piece below.

Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of the Day: ” We the American Muslims refused to have our rights sacrificed on the alter of political expedience, demagoguery and opportunism. We are not the terrorist suspects but rather we are this nations brightest prospect. Thus, second class citizenship is not an option ” Imam Mahdi Bray

MAS Freedom Press Conference Demonstrates Broad Interfaith Support for Muslim Religious Freedoms, Mosque Construction

Aug. 17 2010 Press Conf

Washington D.C. (MASF) Aug. 17, 2010 – In a media room capacity press event, MAS Freedom, joined by major leaders from the Jewish, Christian, and interfaith communities, defended not the so-called “Ground Zero” mosque, but the religious right of Muslims everywhere in America to practice our faith and build our communities.

More than 20 major national and international media organizations came to the National Press Club in Washington, DC to attend the press event, hosted my MAS Freedom and moderated by MAS Freedom Executive Director, Mahdi Bray.  Bray opened the event by placing the opposition to the Cordoba Initiative “Ground Zero” mosque and community center project into the national context of broad attacks on Muslim houses of worship and communities throughout the United States.  He stated that MAS Freedom

remains deeply concerned that the question of freedom of religion for Muslims in America is not confined to the issue of the proposed project of the Cordoba Initiative (often referred as the “Ground Zero” Mosque) in lower Manhattan. Indeed, Muslim communities throughout the United States – in Connecticut, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Wisconsin, California and other states, face zoning challenges, regulatory opposition, and even intimidation and threats of violence when they announce plans to build houses or worship or enlarge mosques and Islamic centers that currently exist. Current research by American University reveals that opposition to building mosques and the vandalizing of mosques are on the rise in America. Holding a small copy of the United States constitution, Bray then called on the “better angels” of American society to stand for the constitutional rights of all people of faith.

Ibrahim Ramey of MAS Freedom, Arielle Gingold of the Interfaith Alliance (the largest interfaith organization in America), Ron Cruz of Pax Christi USA (the largest Catholic peace and social justice organization in the country), and Corey Saylor of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) echoed the sentiment that Muslims, like other Americans, should not be opposed when they seek to build houses of worship.

These speakers also unanimously affirmed the fact that American Muslims bear no collective guilt for the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001, and that the proposed project of the New York City-based Cordoba Initiative is not proposed for location on the site of the attack.

“American Muslims did not plan, finance, or execute this criminal act.  And Muslims were also victimized by this act of terrorism” stated Ramey.  He also mentioned the political motives of many opponents of the project “that can be characterized as anti-immigrant and anti-worker, in addition to being anti-Muslim.

However, notable national political leaders,  including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Obama, have publicly stated their support for the lower Manhattan project, as have major leaders in the New York City Jewish and Christian communities.

But the prophetic and powerful voice of Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center truly captured the sentiments of all the presenters when he spoke of the goodness and integrity of the Cordoba Initiative leaders, and then told a story of his own grandmother, who, some 60 years ago, rebuked another woman after that woman made racially insensitive remarks. “This is not what we say about other people, because this is America”, he recounted from his grandmother’s words.

Imam Bray then concluded the press conference by stating that MAS Freedom will continue to organize and expand its national campaign “Protect Mosques and American Religious Freedom.” The campaign will provide educational materials with factual information concerning Muslims and their houses of worship and encourage Mosques across America to open their houses of worship to their neighbors during this month of Ramadan.

Also, the MAS Freedom project through its civil rights division will assist Muslim communities and any faith group in America in defending their religious rights to lawfully build houses of worship.

“Second class citizenship is not an option for American Muslims”, Bray concluded.


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