Muslims Welcome GOP
Rejection of Threat to Attack Mecca
Washington, DC: The Council
on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has welcomed remarks
by several Republican presidential candidates repudiating
threats made by fellow White House hopeful Rep. Tom Tancredo
(R-CO) to attack Islamic holy sites.
The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group
also called on Tancredo to retract and apologize for remarks
he made advocating threats to bomb the holy cities of Mecca
and Medina as part of his proposed anti-terror policy.
SEE: Attacking Mecca Effective, Tancredo Says (AP)
SEE ALSO: Tancredo Defends Threat to Bomb Muslim Holy Sites
In a statement issued, CAIR said:
"The Republican candidates and the Department of State
are correct in rejecting threatened attacks on Islamic holy
sites as a deterrent to terrorists.
"Representative Tancredo's extreme and counterproductive
proposal to threaten Mecca and Medina fails any reasonable
test for strategic viability. It only serves to further
damage our nation's interests and image in the Muslim world
and will inevitably be used as rhetorical fodder by extremists.
"America's relationship with Islam and Muslims worldwide
will be a central issue for the administration of our next
president, whoever that may be.
"We call on Representative Tancredo to retract his
inflammatory statements and to apologize for fanning the
flames of international mistrust and hostility. We also
urge every other presidential candidate to state how her
or his leadership would win back the international support,
particularly in the Islamic world, that America has lost
in recent years."
During a Republican presidential debate in Iowa over the
weekend, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson said,
"I sincerely believe that bombing religious artifacts
and religious holy sites would do nothing but unify 1 billion
Muslims against us."
After the debate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
said the idea is "appalling." Rep. Duncan Hunter
(R-CA) also said, "I wouldn't follow that."
SEE: GOP Candidates Go On Attack Over Bombing Remark (Rocky
SEE ALSO: Thompson Calls Tancredo Plan to Bomb Holy Sites
Earlier in the week, Tom Casey, a deputy spokesperson for
the State Department, said: "It is absolutely outrageous
and reprehensible for anyone to suggest attacks on holy
sites, whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish or those
of any other religion." Casey called Tancredo's proposal
SEE: Candidates' Remarks Bomb with State Department Officials
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has
33 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.