For Immediate Release
CAIR Reminds Gingrich that All Faiths are Equal in America
Republican presidential hopeful conditions support for Muslim candidate on rejection of Islamic principles
WASHINGTON - A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization tonight called on Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and other GOP representatives to reaffirm their support of an American republic that treats citizens of all faiths as equals.
Gingrich today told a South Carolina town hall that he would only support a Muslim for the presidency if that person would "commit in public to give up Sharia."
"Newt Gingrich's vision of America segregates our citizens by faith. His outdated political ideas look backward to a time when Catholics and Jews were vilified and their faiths called a threat," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor. "The time for bias in American politics has passed and Newt Gingrich looks like a relic of an ugly era."
Saylor added that Sharia teaches marital fidelity, generous charity and a thirst for knowledge. It includes religious guidelines for praying, fasting, giving charity, helping the needy, feeding the hungry, and caring for the environment. "The last time I checked, that was called freedom of religion and it is all protected by the Constitution," said Saylor.
According to Saylor, Sharia literally means "path," and it is a set of interpretations that are dynamic and intended to accommodate the time, place and laws -- like the U.S. Constitution -- of a particular community. Sharia is interpreted differently based on its surroundings. Sharia mandates Muslims to respect the law of the land in which they live. Many familiar with Islam note that Sharia is similar to Catholic Canon law and Jewish Halacha law.
SEE: CAIR-Oklahoma, Understanding Sharia What It is and What It is Not
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently upheld a lower court's decision to block implementation of an Oklahoma state constitutional amendment that would prohibit courts from applying "Sharia law" and "international law."
In its first annual report on Islamophobia, CAIR listed Gingrich as one of the nation's worst promoters of anti-Muslim bigotry.
CAIR's report stated in part: "A consumer of the Islamophobic narrative produced by others on this list, Gingrich's credibility and visibility as a former House speaker makes his decision to adopt an anti-Muslim line in his pre-2010 election rhetoric dangerous."
A number of other recent reports have documented the growth and promotion of Islamophobia nationwide.
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CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.