National Council of Asian Pacific Americans Praises President’s Visit to Mosque to Celebrate Contributions of American Muslims
Today, President Obama visited the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque to support religious tolerance and hold a roundtable with American Muslim community leaders.
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) praises the President’s demonstration of our nation’s support for American Muslims and his continued efforts to speak out in a climate where hate violence and discriminatory political rhetoric against American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim have been on the rise. As a coalition, NCAPA has made standing against anti-Muslim hate, xenophobia and bigotry a top priority this year.
“The President’s first visit to an American mosque could not come at a more important time, to remind our nation of its strength in diversity and its founding principle of religious freedom,” said National Director Christopher Kang. “Asian Americans have experienced history when our country has succumbed to fear and hysteria--whether it was the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act or the forced removal of 120,000 loyal Japanese Americans to detention camps during World War II--and we stand with the Muslim, Sikh, Arab and South Asian American communities to say never again. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past by allowing hate, discrimination, and prejudice to undermine who we are as a nation.”
“Since 9/11, American Muslims have been placed under government surveillance, going against our nation’s alleged values of religious freedom and tolerance,” said Lakshmi Sridaran, co-chair of the NCAPA civil rights committee and director of national policy and advocacy at South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). “We are encouraged by the President’s visit to talk with community leaders. We hope this will lead to stronger policies on hate crimes during this period of resurgence in violence and rhetoric targeting Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities. We encourage everyone to confront anti-Muslim sentiment in our own homes and communities. Anyone can help our efforts to track hate crimes and access resources on SAALT’s website.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.