Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

CAIR Organizes Panel Discussion on Religious Minority Rights

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

CAIR Organizes Panel Discussion on Religious Minority Rights

Article excerpt

CAIR Organizes Panel Discussion On Religious Minority Rights

The rights of religious minorities around the world were considered at a Capitol Hill panel discussion organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, on Jan. 25, 1999. The seminar focused on challenges faced by Muslim minorities in Europe and the U.S.A. and allegations of slavery in the Sudan.

Dr. Yvonne Haddad, professor of history at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, discussed the globalization of Islam and the return of Muslims to the West. Though there are 18 million Muslims in Europe and the Americas, "the political process in the West has not yet digested this phenomenon," Haddad said. She added that one reason the West has been unable to accommodate Muslims is that the Western national identity perceives Muslims as the enemy, and Muslims themselves perceive the West as intolerant of Islam.

Dr. Haddad argued that issues of security and cultural identity are two major concerns shared by Muslim immigrants and their host countries. The stereotype portraying Muslims as terrorists does not allow them to melt into the new society, Haddad explained. Other stereotyping issues, such as intolerance of the West toward Muslim women wearing head scarves (hijab), have also contributed to the conflict that exists between the West and Islam. …

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