MPAC Facilitates Interfaith Meeting with Senator Boxer on Muslim Inclusion

Los Angeles, CA: Three prominent religious leaders from Southern California, who met with Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) during the crisis in Lebanon last summer called on her January 16 to work toward inclusion of Muslim America constituents. Reverend George Regas, Rabbi Leonard Beerman and Dr. Maher Hathout reached out to Senator Boxer in response to her recent decision to rescind an award which was to be given to Bassim Elkarra, Executive Director of the CAIR-Sacramento office.
"We are calling you because we met with you and we experienced first hand that you are open and inclusive and seek to forge a better society," Hathout told Boxer. "There is a general environment that Muslims perceive that they are being marginalized and viewed in an unhealthy light. What we need is to deal with the conditions and events that make this community feel marginalized."
Boxer assured the leaders that her office is in ongoing communication with CAIR-CA representatives and that she remains committed to working with broad and diverse interfaith constituencies to promote civil rights, combat global warming and end the war in Iraq. She hoped to continue to engage with faith-based communities on relevant issues pertaining to domestic and international issues.
Last month, MPAC sent a letter to Congresswoman Boxer, which read in part:
"The rise of Islamophobia is a deep concern to our community, especially as high profile figures have demonstrated their hateful attitudes towards the Muslim community, most recently exemplified by Congressman Virgil Goode's vicious letter to his constituents following the election of Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim to be elected in the US Congress....
"As shocking remarks of this strain make their way to the general public against the backdrop of Islamophobia, many American Muslims are concerned with the way decisions are made by our public officials and precisely what informs those decisions. We believe that accurate communication is vital for a healthy relationship between the American Muslim community in California and your office, so we turn to you for help..."
Founded in 1988, MPAC is a public service agency working for the civil rights of American Muslims, for the integration of Islam into American pluralism, and for a positive, constructive relationship between American Muslims and their representatives.

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