PRESS RELEASE: CAIR-Chicago Invites Peoria Homeowner with Anti-Muslim Display to Visit Mosque, Learn About Islam

(CHICAGO, IL., 3/1/16) – The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today invited homeowner with an anti-Muslim display on his lawn and other Peoria residents to visit local mosques to learn about Islam. Dennis Murdy built lawn decorations that show a hunter pointing a shotgun at a person wearing a turban who is on his knees. The ornaments have raised great concern in the Peoria Muslim community.

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The Islamic Foundation of Peoria is holding a “Know Islam, Know Peace” event on March 7th at its Mosque at 823 West Salaam Drive, Peoria. City leaders and other religious groups will be there and CAIR-Chicago encourages residents of the area to attend, meet Muslims, and learn about Islam.

Along with the invitation CAIR-Chicago asks religious and city leaders to make a concerted effort to build bridges between their own constituencies and their Muslim neighbors.

“These hateful sentiments toward Islam are rooted in a deep misunderstanding of the religion. Our Constitution protects religious diversity, but it is up to each of us as Americans to bridge those divides, extend a hand, and break down the walls between us to better understand our neighbors of other faiths,” said Renner Larson, Communications Director of CAIR-Chicago.

Imam Kamil Mufti with the Islamic Foundation of Peoria said, “Free speech should not be mixed with hate speech. If Islamophobia is going to be acceptable, by the same token, anti-semitism and racism would be acceptable. That is wrong. Moreover, Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. He might have guns and bullets for us, but we will greet him and others with flowers and love.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.