A number of Muslims are expressing their appreciation for U.S. soldiers and their outrage over comments made by Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) officials questioning whether to honor U.S. troops who gave their lives in wars they oppose. CAIR officials frequently depict American soldiers as murderers, imperialists and abusers of Muslims.
The Muslim backlash was sparked by a Clarion Project report on the topic, followed by a Fox and Friends television segment about it. Zahra Billoo, the executive-director of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter and one of the two officials that made the offensive Memorial Day weekend remarks, tweeted that the outrage is driven by anti-Muslim bigotry, sexism and racism:
The comments by CAIR officials prompted several Bosnian Muslims to thank U.S. soldiers for their sacrifices, with one explicitly saying that CAIR does not speak for them:
In addition, a number of Muslim human rights activists responded in statements to the Clarion Project:
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy:
“The real truth that CAIR and their Islamist colleagues at the Organization of the Islamic Conference hypocritically ignore is that our American sons and daughters in the military have sacrificed more to liberate free-thinking Muslims from the shackles of real oppression in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq than any other nation, especially Muslim-majority countries.
“Our military is ground zero in the ideological conflict against Islamism. Islamist groups like CAIR cannot both claim that Muslims should be conscientious objectors against ‘occupation’ while also claiming they respect their service and patriotism.
“The Nidal Hasans and Nasser Abdos of the world are natural byproducts of the deep anti-American mindset of Islamist groups like CAIR who incessantly demonize the American soldier and all America stands for in order to present Islamism as the alternative.
“Look no further than their name: CAIR views America and Islam as having ‘relations’ like two different entities rater than as ‘one nation under God.’
“Thousands of Muslims serve and have served America with distinction in spite of CAIR’s attempts to convince them otherwise.”
Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour, President of the International Quranic Center:
“As an experienced Muslim thinker and scholar, I cannot help but notice the role the U.S. military plays in international developments worldwide, where the U.S. is the number one contributor of international aid. Moreover, the U.S. military’s humanitarian work is the most active in comparison to any other military in the world, providing medical services and food supplies in many conflict zones.
“Organizations like CAIR choose to overlook all of the above work of the U.S. military. The approach exemplifies radicals’ views of the world as two camps: Infidels (the West) and believers (Muslims). This contradicts the real Islamic teachings, as I clarify in this article.”
Raheel Raza, President of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow:
“Muslims Facing Tomorrow thanks the U.S. forces and its allies for their efforts to bring peace and tranquility in areas of turmoil. As Muslims, we must refrain from knee-jerk reactions and should not succumb to the anti-Western propaganda from Islamist organizations.
“We must give special thanks to U.S. troops for working in harsh conditions in Muslim lands to protect our freedoms. We must also educate our youth about the problems we face and certain aspects of our failure to combat bigotry, hatred and radicalization in our societies.”
Dr. Ali Alyami, Director of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia:
“As the father of an Iraq War veteran (an officer in the U.S. Army), I am one of those who celebrate and pay unconditional tribute to the millions of American men and women who selflessly liberated Europe from fascism, saved the world from the slavery-like communist system, liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s onslaught, liberated and saved Muslims’ lives in Bosnia and continue to save the world from falling under totalitarian systems.
CAIR and the like ought to focus on exposing Muslims slaughtering Muslims in the name of Allah and Islam, as in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the list goes on. American soldiers have laid down their lives to protect innocent Muslims, from each other and from non-Muslims.”
Farzana Hassan, former president of the Muslim Canadian Congress and Toronto Sun columnist:
“CAIR’s agenda obviously runs counter to American values. American soldiers ought to be honored for risking their lives trying to promote liberal values in Islamic countries. CAIR forgets that American soldiers have risked their lives defending Iraqis and Afghans from the brutality they would face at the hands of religious extremists and fanatics. To deem American soldiers as criminals and murderers is reprehensible.”
Dr. Tawfik Hamid, former Islamist and Chair for the Study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute:
“As a Muslim, I would like to thank the U.S. troops for fighting Islamist radicals and terrorists since September 11. Our American soldiers who lost their lives in this war are true heroes who died to defend our nation and to save the world from the enemies of our civilization.”
Imam Qazi Qayyoom, founder of the Muhammadi Center in Jackson Heights, NY:
“America and its soldiers are not the enemies of Muslims. In some cases, they are the saviors of Muslims. The American military’s humanitarian missions are helping many people, regardless of religion. CAIR’s statements that American soldiers are harming mankind are wrong and the group is far from the real things of Islam.
“I believe CAIR and their allies are abusing their freedom of speech and freedom of religion. They are problem-causers for the peace-loving and moderate Sufi-Sunni Muslims of America. They follow the radical Islam of the Wahhabists, Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood and Maududi and it leads Muslims towards extremism, radicalism and terrorism.
“The problem is that our officials do not understand them and remain confused about their sugar-coated activities.”
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, Executive Director of Center for Islamic Pluralism
“U.S. military forces and assets have been instrumental in assisting beleaguered Muslims in many countries, including, more recently, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Kosovo. No believing Muslim should try to deny this fact, which is obvious to the world. U.S. leaders and military personnel deserve the respect and honor of Muslims for these efforts.”
Naser Khader, Senior Fellow of the Hudson Institute and former Danish MP
“I’m quite frankly appalled by the statements from CAIR. In my opinion these are not the words of a religious belief, but of ignorance. Unfortunately, religion can be used as a disguise for this ignorance, which CAIR in this case proves.
“I think it’s disappointing to see how much impact and reach CAIR continues to have in America. They should not be taken seriously due to the rather extreme nature of the organization.
“Whether you are against certain wars or not, Memorial Day isn’t about that – and certainly not about questioning people, who sacrificed their life in duty for freedom. As a society we should definitely discuss these foreign affairs related to wars, but I am highly upset seeing how CAIR disrespect the victims and their relatives, especially on such as day, with such careless comments. CAIR’s critique is misdirected, and the content as well as rhetorical delivery gives me great concern and anger.”
Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.