(ATLANTA, GA, 6/12/17)
-- The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-GA) today announced that it has invited gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Michael Williams to visit a local mosque and engage in dialogue with Georgia Muslims after he spoke Saturday at an anti-Islam rally in Piedmont Park and posed with armed anti-government militia members.
During the rally, Williams reportedly called on protesters to "unite together to fight sharia law," and took a photograph alongside armed members of the Georgia Security Force III% militia, a neo-Confederate militia group, members of which held armed protests against the construction of a mosque in Newton County last year.
"Although we were obviously concerned about Senator Williams’ decision to support the ACT rally, our Islamic faith teaches us that outreach is a far better response than outrage," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR Georgia. "We welcome Senator Williams to meet with Georgia Muslims so that we can clear the air and build bridges of understanding."
SEE: Georgia State Senator Poses with Armed Militia at Anti-Islam Rally
Instead of counter-protesting the ACT rally on June 10, CAIR-GA and 20 other organizations hosted an interfaith rally and food drive at Al-Farooq Masjid. During the event, participants donated more than 500 pounds of food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
SEE: Georgia Muslims Collect 500+ Pounds of Food Donations at Packed Interfaith Rally, "No to Extremism & Bigotry, Yes To Service & Unity"
A diverse line-up of interfaith and community leaders also expressed solidarity with the Georgia Muslim community and debunked anti-Muslim rhetoric spread by the hate group ACT for America at its "Marches Against Sharia," including the one in Piedmont Park.
"ACT for America has no idea what Islam teaches, much less what Sharia actually means," Mitchell said. "Like canon law in Catholicism and halakha in Judaism, sharia simply refers to the rules that Muslims follow, from praying five times a day to tithing annually to fasting during Ramadan."
Mitchell added, "Although both ACT for America and ISIS hold radical interpretations of what Sharia means, they are just as wrong as the KKK was about the teachings of the Bible. Terrorism, female genital mutilation, and other horrific practices have nothing to do with our faith, and we support the criminal prosecution of those who engage in such acts."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil rights 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.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
- END -