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CAIR’s Post-San Bernardino PR Strategy: Interfaith Vigils

In the wake of the deadly San Bernardino massacre, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)–an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror funding trial–is encouraging local mosques to hold interfaith prayer vigils.

At the vigils, congregations are encouraged to condemn the terrorism being carried out by self-described Muslims, in the hope that the public will see these individuals separately from their religion–as radical Islamic terror continues to spread worldwide.

Bay Area radio station KQED reports that the new PR strategy takes the position that members of the larger Muslim community “experience terrorist attacks–regardless of whether they’re perpetrated in the name of Islam–as Americans, not as Muslims.”

KQED notes that the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino–the largest in San Bernardino County–held a vigil the day after the Southern California shooting to show support for the victims’ families and express that most Muslims are peace-loving. The vigil organizer, Dr. Ahsan Khan, reportedly said the vigil was about local people coming together to support one another.

The new strategy is being driven by CAIR’s Los Angeles branch. In the Bay Area, however, the executive director of CAIR in the region, Zahra Billoo, reportedly took a different stance. “I don’t anticipate any vigils being driven or led by the Muslim community in Northern California,” Billoo told KQED. “We don’t have a unique connection to any of the shooters,” she said, emphasizing her belief that there is “a double standard that expects Muslims to do something more or different because a criminal has a Muslim identity.”

Billoo attempted to pin the massacre on gun control issues.

Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), sent a similar message to gatherers at the Iman Cultural Center nearly two weeks ago during a talk and panel discussion entitled “Overcoming Xenophobia: Lessons from the Catholic, Mormon & Jewish Experiences.” Al-Marayati said “Islamaphobia is not a Muslim problem. It’s an American problem.”

Photo: Xenophobia event (file)

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.

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