I just got this press release from CAIR-LA:
CAIR-LA Calls on Candidates to Avoid Anti-Muslim Rhetoric
(ANAHEIM, 10/10/06) – The Southern California office of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on politicians in the
state to avoid “smear campaigns and fear-mongering” to target candidates
of Muslim or Arab background or those who associate with the California
“We call on all Californians to repudiate attempts to spread fear of
Islam and Muslims by falsely labeling Arab-American and Muslim
candidates seeking office as extremists,” said CAIR-LA Executive
Director Hussam Ayloush. “It is disturbing to see public officials
exploit growing anti-Muslim prejudice and bias within our society by
using smear campaigns and fear-mongering.”
Ayloush cited the case of Bill Dalati, a Republican candidate for
Anaheim City Council who has been the target of vicious attacks by
former state Republican Party Chairman Shawn Steel. Steel supports
Dalati’s opponent, incumbent Bob Hernandez.
In a letter, Steel called Dalati a “Manchurian candidate” and questioned
his patriotism for supporting elected officials who have been critical
of President George W. Bush’s Iraq policies.
Steel also criticized Dalati’s participation at a rally this summer.
That rally was attended by Christians, Jews, Muslims and people of other
faiths, and demanded an immediate cease-fire to the most recent outbreak
of war in the Middle East.
Muslims say Steel has a history of Islamophobia. He once claimed Islam
is a diseased religion.
In a separate race, 47th Congressional District incumbent Loretta
Sanchez has been targeted using similar tactics.
Sanchez’s opponent Tan Nguyen has angered local Muslims with his
offensive and inflammatory use of a photograph of a Middle Eastern
terrorist to link the hot-button issues of illegal immigration and
Sanchez has closely worked with all religious groups, including Muslims.
CAIR has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.