Islamic Group Questions Darfur Rally’s ‘True Agenda’

Daily News Article   —   Posted on May 1, 2006

(by Susan Jones, – An Islamic advocacy group wants to know why no one from the major American Muslim groups was invited to speak at Sunday’s rally to “stop the genocide” in Darfur.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations noted that CAIR and other American Muslim groups, including the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, are members of the Save Darfur Coalition.

Although several Muslims spoke at the rally, “they do not represent Islamic groups that are coalition members,” CAIR said in a Sunday press release.

Earlier this month, after noticing the lack of Muslim speakers on the program, CAIR said it wrote to rally organizers asking to have a representative speak at the rally.

The Save Darfur Coalition never replied to CAIR’s letter, CAIR said, even though CAIR is an original signatory of the coalition’s founding “Unity Statement.”

“It is unfortunate that the Save Darfur Coalition chose not to list any mainstream American Muslim groups in the rally program,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. “This disturbing omission calls into question the coalition’s true agenda at the rally.”

Awad said rally participants would have benefited from hearing American Muslim leaders offer support for those suffering in Darfur and in neighboring areas.

He added that CAIR recently renewed its call to end the violence and suffering in Darfur, asking American Muslims to contact their elected representatives to urge government action.

Awad noted that the conflict in Darfur often is portrayed in racial and religious terms, with “Arabs” killing “black Africans.”

CAIR pointed out that nearly everyone involved in the conflict is black and Muslim. It says the conflict is about politics, and it has warned that some people may be exploiting the suffering to promote political or religious agendas.

“The Darfur crisis is deeply troubling to our community,” CAIR Government Affairs Director Corey Saylor said last week. “We support measures that will end the fighting and stabilize the area so that aid groups can do their work.”

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, war broke out in Darfur three years ago between government-sponsored tribal militias and rebel groups. The rebels claimed they were fighting to end the economic and political marginalization of the region. Since then, some 200,000 people have died and two million more have been displaced.

The Islamist government in Khartoum and its proxy militias are identified as Arabs, while the rebels and civilians have an African ethnic background.

The U.S. government has been pressing for sanctions against senior Sudanese officials linked to the violence, but China and Russia object.

Reprinted here with permission from Cybercast News Service. Visit the website at