The leaders of dozens of Muslim American organizations immediately denounced as intolerable and unacceptable the massacre of 49 innocent people Saturday night by a gun-touting American Muslim of Afghan heritage who had previously been identified by the FBI as having extremist connections and views
By Ray Hanania
The leaders of dozens of American Muslim organizations across the country released statements forcefully denouncing the murder of 49 people and injured 53 others at a Gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida on Saturday night/Sunday morning.
Investigators said that the killer, Omar Mateen, 29, burst into the nightclub around 2 a.m. on and opened fire with an automatic AR-15 machine gun as people at the club were drinking, dancing and socializing.
FBI officials acknowledged that Mateen had been investigated in 2013 and 2014, and also confirmed that the Orlando nightclub shooter dialed 911 as he was killing people 20 minutes into the assault to pledge his allegiance to ISIS, the Islamic terrorist organization that is engaged in brutal violence in the Middle East and Islamic world. Mateen reportedly also mentioned the Boston bombers in his 911 calls.
Many in the American Muslim community have been vocal against the violence and terrorism, although that has never been enough for most Americans who have embraced American policies that have singled out Muslims and Arabs for scrutiny and discriminatory practices, such as in the Patriot Act.
Rising anti-Muslim hate and discrimination has been the focus of the current elections for president, but have also been vocalized by both Republicans and Democrats in the nearly 15 years since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against New York City, and the Pentagon.
Racism against Muslims and confusion about Islam and Arabs who are Muslim and Christian, and activism by pro-Israel extremists who have tried to use the violence by Muslims as a means of reinforcing their own propaganda goals in the United States to protect Israel against criticism for its own violence against civilians in the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank and also occupied Jerusalem.
“No matter what Muslim leaders and activists say, many Americans don’t care. They are racist and hate Muslims and they hate Arabs and much of it has to do with pro-Israel activism. The Arab haters use this kind of violence to reinforce their policies reinforcing stereotypes against Muslims, Arabs and anyone who disagrees with American foreign policy int he Middle East,” one American Arab from Detroit who asked not to be identified said in an interview Monday.
“They will say we don’t denounce this kind of violence, when we do. But the truth is, most Americans are just not listening. Certainly, though, Muslim leaders can and should do more including distancing themselves from extremist voices who do exist in our community but who have not engaged in violence.”
Although many Muslim and Arab American organizations have issued statements, the mainstream news media only gives scant coverage to the statements, with most of the commentary in most media tending to focus on the negatives surrounding the community.
One of the problems, of course, is that the Arab and Muslim community is overwhelmed with hate and bigotry promoted by the mainstream news media which tries to distinguish between “Muslims” and “Arabs,” and plays down the voices of those that criticize Israel. And, these Arab and Muslim organizations are very inept at writing and issuing press releases. There are fewer than 90 publications in the Arab and Muslim community and they receive very little support from their own community and even less recognition or support from mainstream Americans. There are only about a dozen radio and cable TV programs that cover the Arab and Muslim community so it appears that Muslims and Arabs do not forcefully enough denounce these acts of violence.
Here are just a few of the statements denouncing Mateen and his violence that were issued by Muslim American organizations:
The Islamic Center of America
CONDEMNS MASS MURDER IN ORLANDO FLORIDA
CONTACT: Kassem Allie, Executive Administrator 313-593-0000
ISLAMIC CENTER OF AMERICA CONDEMNS RECENT MASS SHOOTING IN ORLANDO
Calls for government leaders to take action on real gun reform and against terrorist groups.
Dearborn, MI, JUNE 13, 2016: The Islamic Center of America (ICA) strongly condemns the recent mass murder in Orlando Florida. The ICA offers its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of this monstrous act of violence. We join our fellow Americans in repudiating every extremist person or group who would justify an attack on innocent people for any cause or purpose.
This vicious crime is yet another senseless massacre committed by a deranged individual with easy access to military weapons. Although every individual is responsible for their own actions the Islamic Center believes our government leaders must finally look seriously at the underlying causes that lead to these mass shooting. First, military weapons capable of killing and injuring over a hundred people within minutes cannot be justified in any civilian’s hands. Sensible assault rifle reform should be reinstated as the law of the land. Moreover, robust gun purchase screenings are needed to limit access to weapons of mass murder by mentally unstable individuals. Especially troubling are sales to those who are already known by law enforcement to have mental health issues or those who are a known legitimate security threat to our country.
Second our country must step up its fight against terrorist groups like Daesh/ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Al-Nusra et al. More importantly, those countries, some of whom we consider allies but act as enablers, must be held accountable for their support of these groups and be told under no uncertain terms, continued support for them is an attack on the United States of America.
Finally, we should never succumb to the obvious provocation being used by extremists to divide or alienate us from one another. Instead we should use our greatest weapon against the extremist’s agenda which is the very thing that they fear most; our commitment to diversity and adherence to the rule of law that protects the most vulnerable among us. We also must recognize the campaign against terror is a generational fight. The fight must be waged vigorously without undermining the values and principles that make our country great. In the end it is the collective effort of Americans of all faiths, backgrounds and affiliations that will allow us to prevail.
The Islamic Center and its congregation offer its prayers for the deceased and for the speedy recovery of the injured and its gratitude for those brave first responders who assisted them.
Headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, the Islamic Center of America is the largest Muslim congregation in the United States. It is committed to help educate Muslims and Non-Muslims about the Islamic faith and to engage with fellow Americans in working towards greater understanding between all faiths.
American Muslims for Palestine, Bridgeview Illinois
AMP sends condolences to families of Orlando victims
The American Muslims for Palestine, a national grassroots organization dedicated to educating the American public about Palestine and its rich cultural, historical and religious heritage, sends our deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida this past weekend.
Islam tells us that the taking of one innocent life amounts to the killing of all of humanity. This is a horrific crime for which there is no justification and we grieve over this horrific loss of life.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees all people the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. On Sunday, we awoke to news that 50 people were deprived of their very lives and many injured because of who they are. We assert that as Americans we can no longer tolerate such hatred in our society. We must come together to be agents of change and to look toward a future that ensures life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.
Palestinian Activist Mazen Qumsiyeh:
Occupied Palestine; Condolences to the families of the victims of the mass shooting in Florida and to the victims of the bombings in Damascus and Iraq. Innocent civilians continue to pay a price for the greed of the few who see mayhem and murder as good for their political agenda. My friend’s car has a sticker “who profits”?
We in Palestine were touched by the funeral and memorial for the great Mohammad Ali. He was the greatest boxer but was also a great and caring human being. A very religious man who was an objector to the immoral war on Vietnam, a supporter of justice for Palestinians, and a great philanthropist.
Michigan Muslim Community Council
We Stand Together.
As-Salaam-Alaikum, In the name of God, the Most Merciful
Michigan Muslim Community Council (MMCC) strongly condemns the horrific Orlando mass killing last night and offers our sincerest condolences to the families of the victims.
These violent acts are unjustifiable and are a gross violation of the tenets of our faith and the spirit of Ramadan, a month of charity, mercy and forgiveness. Extremists across the globe are united in the targeting of marginalized or vulnerable communities, often using race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation as a means to vilify other humans.
We call on Michigan’s Muslims to keep the victims and their families in their prayers. We encourage those in the Orlando-area towards much-needed blood donation drives to help those who are injured. And we ask everyone to support the Muslims United for Victims of Pulse Shooting crowd funding campaign organized by Detroit-based Launchgood.
Imam Mohamed Almasmari
MMCC Executive Director
The US Council of Muslim Organizations condemns the Orlando shooting
(Washington, D.C., 6/12/2016) – The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the largest coalition of leading national and local Muslim organizations, expresses its horror over the mass shooting which took place at a nightclub in Orlando, FL overnight, and offers its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and prays for quick recovery for those who were injured.
The shooting, where over 50 were killed and at least the same number were injured, is an affront to all minorities. The USCMO stands firmly against all forms of violence committed against any group, regardless of religious affiliation, creed, color, or sexual orientation. “We condemn such heinous acts by individuals or groups who have no regard for the sanctity of human life” said Oussama Jammal, the secretary general of USCMO.
The right to live free from violence, harassment or intimidation is the most basic human right and must be defended unconditionally.
The USCMO urges the Muslim community in Orlando, Florida to step up to donate blood and to reach out to the injured and to the families of the victims.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association: Muslim Youth Condemn Tragic Orlando Shooting
Oldest Muslim youth group offers its condolences and mourns loss of life
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) – the male youth auxiliary of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA – conveys its condolences and prayers for the victims of Sunday’s tragic shooting in Orlando. AMYA categorically condemns this senseless act of violence and prejudice. The faith of Islam reveres and holds all life as sacred.
“We the members of America’s oldest and most active Muslim Youth association are appalled at the dreadful shooting in Orlando and mourn the loss of innocent life,” said Dr. Bilal Rana, National President of AMYA. “Our thoughts and sincere prayers are with the victims and their families. Such acts can never be justified in any shape and for any reason. We urge all Americans to hold fast together against such violence and hate that seeks to divide and antagonize all of us.”
AMYA applauds the heroic response of law enforcement officials who were able to save many lives. In these trying times, it is crucial that we stand united against all hatred and extremism as we seek answers to this deadly shooting.
As we mourn the loss of 50 lives, we pray for the recovery of the 53 injured and all those affected by this heartless crime.
About Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association:
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) is a nationwide youth group that works with young Muslim men and boys around the country. The association serves as the young men and boys auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Officially established in the United States in 1939, AMYA is one of the earliest Muslim Youth organizations in the United States.
AMYA is a dynamic and vibrant association serving not only the needs of its members but of its local communities and nation. The association is comprised of more than 3,000 men and boys aged 7 to 40, spread across 70 local chapters. Previous members of AMYA include Grammy Award winning artists and Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. AMYA is headquartered in Silver Springs, MD.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued this statement Monday:
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/13/16) – The Tuesday release of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) report “Confronting Fear” will be delayed until further notice due to Sunday’s horrific massacre in Orlando.
CAIR had scheduled a news conference for Tuesday morning to release the report. That news conference has been canceled.
“Our prayers are with the Orlando victims and their families,” said Corey Saylor, director of CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia. “A forthright discussion about all forms of bias is vital to our nation. However, it is our belief that in the wake of this weekend’s tragedy in Orlando, our nation should focus on addressing anti-LGBT hate.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, Middle East Monitor in London, the TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appeare in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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