A Republican senator who intends to show the controversial film Fitna in Washington DC, is being urged to invite Muslims to the screening.
The Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) yesterday called on Senator Jon Kyl, who is one of that state's senators, to invite Muslim representatives ‘to offer a balancing perspective’ to the screening in Congress.
On Thursday, Kyl will host a closed-door screening of the 15-minute film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders. Wilders was recently denied entry to Britain because of his extreme anti-Muslim views, including urging that the Quran, Islam's revealed text, should be banned.
One of the event's co-sponsors, the Center for Security Policy headed by Frank Gaffney, is linked to an anti-Islam group that has advocated prison terms in the US for "adherence to Islam."
"It seems that Senator Kyl is oblivious to the fact that there are Muslims in his own state who will take offence at this cheap anti-Islam publicity stunt designed to promote a person who is under indictment for inciting religious hatred," said CAIR-AZ Executive Director Ahmad Daniels.
"Geert Wilders is just one of many self-promoting Islamophobes travelling the world in search of attention for their hate-filled views. We ask that Americans of all faiths ignore Mr Wilders, thereby depriving him of the attention he so desperately seeks. Wilders has the right to spew his hate, but he does not have the right to a taxpayer-funded platform in the United States Congress."
Daniels urged Kyl to join the ongoing efforts to end partisan politics in Congress and to reach out to the Islamic world by inviting speakers with a differing viewpoint to that of Wilders.
He added that, following a request by CAIR's Los Angeles chapter, a California synagogue that screened a film claiming "confrontation between Islam and the Jews" agreed to invite a Muslim representative who could offer a balancing perspective of interfaith understanding.
He said CAIR's Tampa chapter also called on a local synagogue to invite a representative of the Muslim community who could offer a balancing perspective to a controversial speaker who claims wearing an Islamic head scarf, or hijab, is related to the "growth of terrorism."
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.