FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CAIR Repudiates Egypt 'Blasphemy' Death Sentences
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/28/12) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties organization, today repudiated death sentences handed down by an Egyptian court for charges linked to the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" that attacked the Prophet Muhammad.
An Egyptian court reportedly found the defendants, most of whom live in the United States, guilty of harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam and spreading false information. Capital punishment decisions must be approved or rejected by Egypt's top religious authority. A final verdict is due on Jan. 29.
SEE: Egypt Court Sentences 8 to Death Over Film (USA Today)
In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"We repudiate this un-Islamic attempt to impose the death sentence for blasphemy, a sentence that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself never imposed, despite being attacked both rhetorically and physically.
"One Islamic tradition (hadith) states in reference to the Prophet: 'You do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.' (Sahih Al-Bukhari) Muslims in Egypt and worldwide should choose the same path of kindness and reconciliation followed by the Prophet himself.
"We ask civil and religious authorities in Egypt to honor the legacy of the Prophet by following his example and rejecting these death sentences.
"To do otherwise violates Islamic principles and offers support to those -- like the extremists who produced this despicable film -- who seek to defame Islam and Muslims."
In September, CAIR released video appeals in the languages of those protesting the anti-Islam film. One of those videos shows CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad telling viewers in the Middle East that ordinary Americans and the U.S. government should not be blamed for the religious hatred expressed in the film.
CAIR had previously called on Muslims in the Middle East to ignore the distribution of the "trashy" anti-Islam film that resulted in violence in Egypt and other nations throughout the Muslim world.
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.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:firstname.lastname@example.org