Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

CAIR Hosts Fund-Raiser in DC

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

CAIR Hosts Fund-Raiser in DC

Article excerpt

THE COUNCIL ON American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) held its 13th annual banquet on Nov. 17 at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, VA. The master of ceremonies, Ahmed Bedier, executive director of CAIR-Tampa, FL, told a startling story to illustrate the banquet's theme: "Let the Conversation Begin."

A man in Pinellas Park, FL, Michael Allen, had a toilet in his front yard with a sign promising to flush a Qur'an at 1 p.m. each day to protest terrorism. One day Bedier paid him a visit and asked why he had this display. He told him the tableau was his way of protesting what he saw as the failure of Muslims to condemn terrorism and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Bedier went to his car, he said, brought back his laptop and showed the man all the press releases, articles and even a video of a public service announcement that CAIR had issued to condemn terrorism. Bedier also showed him pictures of his wife and child. They ate grapes and cantaloupe together and Allen decided to remove the display because Bedier, the first Muslim he had ever met, had been "so nice."

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), and CAIR executive director Nihad Awad each addressed the challenges facing Muslims in America today. …

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