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For Immediate Release


CAIR-AZ Civil Rights Director Liban Yousuf,; CAIR-AZ Operations Coordinator Kristy Sabbah, 480-704-3786,

Press Release

CAIR: Arizona Muslim, Interfaith Leaders Condemn Harassment of Mosque Worshipers

Tempe Mosque to host open house designed to foster mutual understanding

The Islamic Community Center of Tempe, the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) and a coalition of Arizona interfaith leaders today condemned a series of Islamophobic protests targeting worshipers at the mosque.

[MEDIA ADVISORY: The Islamic Community Center of Tempe will host an open house 6 p.m. Friday, April 17, to push back against the hateful narrative and promote mutual understanding. The event is open for all to learn about who Muslims are, clear up misconceptions and to share refreshments with neighbors. To learn more, please visit CONTACT: CAIR-AZ Civil Rights Director Liban Yousuf,

The protesters, led by controversial "street preacher" Dean Saxton, have targeted the Tempe mosque for several weeks, yelling insults at mosque worshipers and desecrating the Quran, Islam's revealed text.

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In a statement, 56 interfaith signatories said:


"Amid the horrific and offensive event that happened outside the Tempe Islamic Community Center of Tempe on Friday April 10th, we as the faith community would like to express our complete concern and solidarity with our brothers and sisters in faith.  The incident included men carrying hateful signs yelling at people attending the mosque, ripping the Koran, throwing it on the ground and spitting on it.  This incident is against all that we believe in, and we make this statement as followers of different faiths, each lifting up the sacredness of our scriptures and the holiness of our faith communities. 

"In a world where religious pluralism continues to grow, we call for all people to refrain from hateful speech or acts such as those suffered by our Muslim brothers and sisters last week.  We must promote peace and solidarity with a strength that will weaken any effort meant to bring intimidation or a sense of insecurity to a community rooted in deep religious principles. 

"We call not only on the faith communities but on our local community as a whole to stand up to anyone who uses hateful speech to try to provoke violent actions.  We are stronger together and only solidarity will be able to triumph against such a horrific event.  For this reason, we call on each of us to join in voice and in prayer to say that this must stop.  We express our deep concern and also our friendship as we reach out to Imam Ahmad Shqeirat and the Islamic Community Center of Tempe in solidarity." 


READ the entire statement.

"Although we respect the protesters' First Amendment rights, we must also be mindful that we are living in a time of rising anti-Islam sentiment, which has resulted in an upswing in bias attacks against Muslims and their institutions," said CAIR-AZ Chairman Imraan Siddiqi.

He said recent hate incidents targeting American Muslims include threats to and vandalism of mosques, vandalism of schools and Muslim businesses and threats to Muslim community members.


SEE: Shots Hits Windows of Oklahoma Mosque
CAIR-OK Seeks Federal Hate Crime Probe of Pork Left at Edmond Mosque

"The open house at our mosque will be a great step toward strengthening our community's bonds by standing alongside our interfaith partners without giving in to the narrative of those with a negative agenda," said Islamic Community Center of Tempe Imam Ahmad Shqeirat.

The Islamic Community Center of Tempe's mission is to provide a diverse, cosmopolitan milieu where everyone is welcome regardless of ethnicity, language or cultural heritage. The Islamic Community Center of Tempe is actively engaged in interfaith and educational activities to correct misinformation about Islam and to mitigate misinformation about the faith.

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.



The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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