US Muslims reject ‘Al Qaeda slurs’

November 22, 2008


WASHINGTON, Nov 21: Muslim organisations across the United States have rejected Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri’s threatening rhetoric and racist slur contained in a newly released video, pointing out that the terrorist group does not speak for Muslims in this country or worldwide.

“We condemn these racist slurs in the strongest possible terms, unequivocally reject Al Qaeda’s philosophy, and reaffirm our opposition to all forms of bigotry, intolerance and racism,” said the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections.

“As Muslims and as Americans, we will never let terrorist groups or terror leaders falsely claim to represent us or our faith,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations said.

The two organisations represent dozens of Muslim American groups with branches across North America.

“We join many other Muslim organisations in rejecting Al Zawahiri’s rhetoric,” said the AMT. “As a coalition that strongly supports and works for civil rights, we find his statement particularly offensive.”

The group insisted that Muslims in America and across the world were “perfectly capable” of speaking for ourselves and were offended by Al Qaeda’s temerity to speak on their behalf.

“We see Senator Barack Obama’s victory as moment of redemption in which our nation has risen to new majestic heights. And so do majority of the Muslims worldwide,” the statement said.

“Zawahiri has insulted all of us by mocking President-elect Barack Obama, former secretary of state Colin Powell and the current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. His ugly rhetoric reveals his total ignorance, especially about Secretary Powell’s courageous denunciation of Islamophobia.”

The group noted that Islam rejected racism in all its manifestations and sought to build communities around values of shared humanity and inherent dignity of the human individual.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said: “The legitimate grievances of Muslims in many areas of the world can never serve as an excuse or a justification for attacks on civilian populations. We once again repudiate Al Qaeda’s actions, rhetoric and worldview and re-state our condemnation of all forms of terrorism and religious extremism.”

CAIR took particular offence to Al Zawahiri’s use of the offensive term “house Negro” in reference to President-elect Obama. “Islam rejects racism and seeks universal peace and brotherhood. We repudiate any and all use of racial slurs or insults.”