American Muslims are here to stay, says US official
WASHINGTON: Muslims in America are here to stay, says Assistant US Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez, telling those who urge Muslims to ‘go home,’ "this is their home.”
Addressing a large Muslim gathering in the US capital, Perez also pledged to "use every tool at our disposal” to ensure equal opportunities for all Muslims living in America.
"The North American Muslim community is thriving, probably more so than any other place in the world,” said Pakistan’s ambassador, Sherry Rehman, while addressing the same convention.
"They are turning negative stereotypes on their heads through their eagerness to participate; to become engaged citizens in North American society, economically, socially and politically,” she said.
Tens of thousands of Muslims from around the United States gathered in Washington this weekend for the 49th annual Islamic Society of North America convention, "One Nation Under God: Striving for the Common Good.”
Held so close to the US presidential election, scheduled on Nov. 6, the convention focused on Muslims’ civic engagement, urging Muslims to participate in the elections. Speakers also underlined the importance
of interfaith harmony, both for Muslims in America and for minorities in Muslim majority countries.
Rabbi David Saperstein of the Union for Reform Judaism, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Congressman Keith Ellison, and Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners urged all faith-based communities to address issues of common concern, such as poverty, discrimination, and human rights abuses.
Assistant Attorney General Perez acknowledged that since 9/11, discrimination against Muslims had become more mainstream, such as arson attacks on and protests against mosques, burning of holy books and refusing building permits to Islamic centres. (...)