Thursday, July 05, 2007

Group Responds to Cal Thomas' Muslim Remarks

In an article posted on WTOP radio, CAIR responds to Cal Thomas' "islamphobic" commentary:

Group Responds to Cal Thomas' Muslim Remarks
July 5, 2007 - 5:03am

WASHINGTON -- Recent remarks from WTOP commentator Cal Thomas have sparked controversy in the Muslim-American community. Now, an Islamic advocacy group is responding to Thomas' commentary.

In his weekly commentary on WTOP Radio Monday, Cal Thomas discussed the recent thwarted terror attacks in the United Kingdom.

"How much longer should we allow people from certain lands, with certain beliefs to come to Britain and America and build their mosques, teach hate, and plot to kill us?" Thomas asked. "OK, let's have the required disclaimer: Not all Muslims from the Middle East and southeast Asia want to kill us, but those who do blend in with those who don't. Would anyone tolerate a slow-spreading cancer because it wasn't fast-spreading? Probably not. You'd want it removed."

Thomas' commentary prompted the Council on American-Islamic Relations to urge its supporters to contact WTOP and voice their concerns. WTOP received many calls and emails from both sides.

On Wednesday, WTOP invited Ibrahim Hooper, a CAIR spokesperson and Cal Thomas, to separately respond to Thomas' previous comments.

In his response, Hooper said Thomas' comments undermined CAIR's effort to promote mutual understanding and social justice.

"For him, I would imagine that his next step is the expulsion of the Muslim-American community," Hooper said. "We condemn extremism. We've condemned terrorism....We've issued dozens of condemnations on dozens of terrorism attacks."

CAIR works to create proactive campaigns to promote awareness about Islam and the Muslim community.

"But guys like [Cal] Thomas come along and want to say every Muslim should be suspect and should be treated in a certain way. That's not just and that's not the American way," Hooper said.

When negative incidents occur, such as the Danish cartoon controversy and the desecration of Korans at Guantanamo Bay, Hooper said CAIR focuses on educational campaigns and "things that really explain who Islam is all about so that they don't have to take their misinformation from Islamaphobes like Cal Thomas."

Hooper said he feels as though the extremists are becoming the unwanted face of Islam.

"We have a real PR problem. We have a real problem with a tiny minority of people who are misusing the faith of Islam to carry out acts of violence," he said.

While the organization tries to reach out to the extremists, Hooper said more often than not, "the people who do these types of things aren't going even to listen to me."

"But we still have a role to play in trying to convince these people that they're betraying the faith of Islam, and we just do as much as we can. We try and think every day of new ways to help in the fight against terrorism."

In response to Hooper's comments, Thomas said there is a history of "disinformation people" in the United States.

"We have always had disinformation people among us... saying that there's no real threat and the real threat are the people who are pointing it out, not the people who are plotting to destroy us. They have a problem. And if they're not listening to voices that claim to be responsible like Mr. Hooper, then they have a double problem," Thomas said.

According to Thomas, the U.S. needs to monitor Muslims more closely.

"As much as it offends our desire to be tolerant and open and free speech and association and the rest, as [New York Times columnist] Tom Friedman put it, we have a cancer among us and we better respond to it before it grows any further," he said.

Thomas also cited several "prominent liberal Democrat" U.S. senators who have expressed concerns with CAIR and its "extreme rhetoric" and "ties to terrorism."

"The truth hurts," Thomas said. "I'm not making this stuff up...we gotta connect the dots. It's a little late after things begin to explode."

(Copyright 2007 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

We need more media people like Mr. Thomas.

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