CAIR shares the Quran

Safaa Abdoun
4 Min Read

CAIRO: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the United States launched a campaign to distribute free copies of the Quran to 100,000 local, state, and national leaders under the name “Share the Quran.

“The long-term goal of the campaign is to put one million [copies of the Quran] in the hands of ordinary Americans of all faiths over the next 10 years, said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in a press statement.

The campaign plans to distribute the Quran to governors, state attorney generals, educators, law enforcement officials, state and national legislators, local elected and public officials, media professionals, and other local or national leaders who determine policy or shape public opinion.

Awad said “Share the Quran materials will be made available to Islamic centers and mosques nationwide for distribution at events such as open houses or public Ramadan iftars.

The campaign was inspired by US President Barack Obama’s address to the Muslim world from Cairo last month, in which he called on a new beginning in relations between both worlds.

“By quoting from the Quran in his Cairo address, President Obama generated renewed interest in what Islam’s revealed text has to say on topics such as the sanctity of human life, justice and diversity, said Awad.

“This is not an effort to proselytize, but is instead intended to provide an educational resource for those who will shape the future direction of our nation, he added.

Awad said the copies of the Quran delivered to American leaders will include a bookmark guide to the verses cited by the president and to references related to topics such as women’s rights, social justice, respect for other faiths, and similar issues related to international events.

Dalia Ziada, North Africa director of the American Islamic Congress (AIC) hailed the campaign and its objectives. “This will play a major role in giving a positive image of Islam, it will really help in changing the stereotypes against Muslims because it is getting out of control, she said, referring to a recent case in the US where a Muslim student at Georgia State University was discriminated against for wearing the hijab, or Islamic headscarf.

The campaign, which was only launched a few days ago, is already receiving attention from local and international media. The Washington Post wrote, “On the premise that nothing makes a better gift than a good book, a Muslim civil liberties group is launching a campaign [.]

On the other hand, there has also been strong opposition of the campaign.

Daniel Pipes, American academic, author, writer, and political commentator who focuses on the Middle East and Islam, criticized the campaign saying that it is a missionary campaign and described CAIR as “the Hamas-founded Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Today, CAIR took what is probably its most major step ever in the direction of da’wa (call for Islam) with the announcement of a ‘Share the Quran’ campaign, he wrote on his blog.

“Awad sought to portray this step as not da’wa. But testimony by converts to Islam reiterates that putting the Quran into the hands of non-Muslims is the best bet for winning them to the faith, Pipes wrote.

Ziada strongly refutes this notion, “Informing people of a different faith, about my religion, doesn’t mean I want them to convert, I only want them to have an accurate understanding of it [.] this is defending Islam and not preaching it.

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