UK terror plot condemned
American Muslims concerned about
Bush's use of 'Islamic fascists'
August 10, 2006: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today expressed concern over President Bush's use of the term "Islamic fascists" in a news conference about the arrest of suspects in a plot to bomb airliners flying between Britain and the United States.
Commenting on the British terror plot, President Bush said that it was further proof "that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists." British authorities arrested at least 21 people suspected of planning to use liquid explosives to destroy as many as 10 jetliners. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the suspects were in the final stages of the plot.
In a letter to President Bush, the CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmed, wrote in part:
"American Muslims have consistently condemned all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by individuals, groups or states. We repudiate anyone who plans or carries out a terrorist act. The American Muslim community remains dedicated to the protection of our nation's security. . .
"Unfortunately, your statement this morning that America 'is at war with Islamic fascists' contributes to a rising level of hostility to Islam and the American-Muslim community. Just today, Gallup released a poll indicating that four out of ten Americans feel 'prejudice' toward Muslims.
"You have on many occasions said Islam is a 'religion of peace.' Today you equated the religion of peace with the ugliness of fascism. The use of ill-defined hot button terms such as 'Islamic fascists,' 'militant jihadism,' 'Islamic radicalism,' or 'totalitarian Islamic empire,' harms our nation's image and interests worldwide, particularly in the Islamic world. It feeds the perception that the war on terror is actually a war on Islam. . .
"American Muslims stand ready to serve as a bridge of understanding to the Islamic world. We can best fulfill that role by offering advice that can help prevent misperceptions and misunderstandings between different nations and cultures."
The CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said: "We believe this is an ill-advised term and we believe it is counterproductive to associate Islam and Muslims with fascism."
Earlier today, in a statement the CAIR condemned all terrorism following a foiled airline bomb plot against US cities and called on Americans to avoid any backlash against Muslim Americans.
"American Muslims have consistently condemned all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by individuals, groups or states. We repudiate anyone or any group that plans or carries out a terrorist act," the CAIR statement said.
"The American Muslim community has always been dedicated to the protection of our national security. It is also important that our fellow Americans understand that Muslims are law-abiding citizens who should not be targeted or singled out because of their faith or national origin," CAIR said.
The organization said it had been contacted by federal law enforcement authorities "who are taking steps to ensure that there is no backlash against the American Muslim community."
However, CAIR urged local Muslim communities to boost security measures at mosques and other Islamic institutions.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council, in a statement said that as a representative of mainstream American Muslims, MPAC reminds the international community during this sensitive time that Islam does not tolerate the use of terrorism for any purpose, regardless of who the aggressors are and what their justifications might be. It is a time for solidarity, not division, for the British and American people, regardless of race or faith, to fight against the evil of terrorism.
"Muslim Americans stand in solidarity in their unequivocal condemnation of terrorism, and are committed to protecting the safety and security of our nation," said Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati. "We are against anyone who would attempt to attack our country, particularly those who would pervert the sacred teachings of Islam in their pursuit of criminal endeavors."
MPAC urged the American Muslim community to continue to maintain vigilance and protect the security of our mosques, our communities and our nation. MPAC continues to collaborate with American Muslim institutions to carry out the National Grassroots Campaign to Fight Terrorism.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which condemned the UK terror plot, today participated in a conference call, initiated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties as part of its newly-established Incident Management Team (IMT), to discuss the airline terror plot in the United Kingdom. The IMT was established by DHS to communicate with members of the Arab, Asian, Sikh, and Muslim American communities during times of crisis.
Representatives from DHS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and UK's Office of Justice and Home Affairs were on the call with members of the Arab American, Muslim American, South Asian, and Sikh communities.
ADC President Mary Rose Oakar said, "ADC condemns the UK terror plot and expresses its relief that the plot was stopped. ADC also reiterates its condemnation of the use of terror and violence against innocent civilians."
The Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee (PAKPAC) today expressed solidarity with all Americans in their unequivocal condemnation of terrorism, and are committed to protecting the safety and security of our nation. It urged the Pakistani Americans and American Muslim community to continue to maintain vigilance and protect the security of our communities, our mosques and our nation. PAKPAC also urged public officials and commentators to avoid using stereotypical and distracted terminology when referring to this and similar cases.
Even as they denounced the terror plot in London, South Florida Muslim leaders braced for a possible backlash because of suspicions that Muslim terrorists were behind it. "In the past, when there have been incidents in the world that have Muslim involvement, there are repercussions here at home," said Altaf Ali, executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "It's almost automatic." After past terrorist incidents, such as the July 2005 bombings of London's public transport system, local Islamic centers were vandalized or received threatening phone calls and letters, Ali said. (Media Reports)
CNN – August 10, 2006
Bush: U.S. at war with 'Islamic fascists'
GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (CNN) -- President Bush said Thursday that an uncovered British terror plot to blow up planes flying to the United States was further proof "that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists."
Bush made a brief statement on the tarmac of the airport in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he traveled to tour a local factory and to attend a Republican fundraiser.
British authorities arrested at least 21 people suspected of planning to use liquid explosives to destroy as many as 10 jetliners. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the suspects were in the final stages of the plot.
"This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11," Bush said. "We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously we still aren't completely safe, because there are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in."
Bush's use of the term "Islamic fascists" was criticized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "We believe that this is an ill-advised term and we believe that it is counterproductive to associate Islamic Muslims with fascism," the council's Executive Director Nihad Awad said at a Washington press conference.
"We ought to take advantage of these incidents to make sure that we do not start a religious war against Islam and Muslims...We urge him and we urge other public officials to restrain themselves," Awad said.
"It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America, and that is why we've given our officials the tools they need to protect our people," Bush said.
The president approved raising the color-coded threat level to red, or severe, for all flights leaving Britain for the United States and orange, or high, for all other flights. Bush said that travelers would be inconvenienced by new flight restrictions, which include a ban on carrying liquids, lotions or gels onto airplanes.
In a statement, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, described the plot as "extremely sophisticated and lethal" and "the biggest terrorist threat since the attacks of September 11, 2001." Collins is the chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, said the plot shows that the Bush administration needs to rethink its Iraq policy, which the lawmaker said had diverted $300 billion from the war on terrorism and created a rallying cry among terrorists.
Reid's and Kerry's statements drew criticism from Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman. "On a day when American authorities are working with our allies to stop a global terror plot, instead of focusing on political attacks, we should focus on the fact that we are at war and need every tool to win the war on terror," Mehlman said, citing the pair's opposition earlier this year to renewing the Patriot Act and their calls to withdraw from Iraq.