(CHICAGO, IL, 8/06/08) – The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today denounced the anti-Muslim smear campaign behind the resignation of Mazen Asbahi, the Obama campaign’s national Muslim liaison. The attacks against Asbahi ironically linked him to mainstream Muslim personalities and groups that were falsely described as “fundamentalist”.
The attacks were targeted against one of Chicago’s most well-known and respected Imams, Jamal Said, who is the director of one of the nation’s largest and most active Mosques located in Bridgeview, IL.
Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago’s Executive Director said in a statement:
“The internet-based claims against one of our most respected Imams and community leaders are without merit. It is unfortunate that the Wall Street Journal would blindly rehash material it admits is obtained from a dubious internet source.
“Imam Jamal Said is a cornerstone of the Chicago Muslim community and an American faith leader who has dedicated his professional life to the sort of everyday services that makes our communities safe and prosperous.
“His daily work includes counseling troubled marriages and failing businesses, advocating for safe streets, fighting bigotry and discrimination, collecting funds to help the poor, encouraging congregants to vote, and of course overseeing faith matters for hundreds of families.
“The Mosque Foundation, where Imam Said works, is a significant contributor to the city’s civic life. It is an active participant in Department of Homeland Security roundtable discussions and is hosting one in just a few weeks. In 2006, it donated a public garden to the City of Chicago in order to beautify its lakefront. It is environmentally conscious and is the first Mosque in the nation to go Solar.
“The Chicago Muslim community has proven itself as model community in many ways and has received countless accolades the nation over; our accomplishments are in large measure due to the leadership and service of entities such as the Mosque Foundation which understand the true meaning of charitable community service.”
“Such baseless innuendo isn’t something that’s sitting well with fair-minded Americans, many of whom have poured in messages of support.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding
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CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 312.212.1520; or 202.870.0016; Reem Rahman, Communications Coordinator, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail: email@example.com