Thursday, July 5, 2007

P.R. problem?

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."

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