Faith Community Stands With Imam Omar Suleiman After Right Wing Attacks

On Thursday, Imam Omar Suleiman from the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, based in Irving, Texas, delivered a sensitive and rousing prayer at the opening of a session at US House of representatives.

Within hours, Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York City denounced both Suleiman and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to invite him to offer the opening prayers.

“Totally unacceptable that Nancy Pelosi had Omar Suleiman give the opening prayer yesterday in the House. He compares Israel to the Nazis & calls them terrorists, supports Muslim Brotherhood, incites violence calling for a Palestinian intifada & the end of Zionism, etc. Bad call,” he wrote in a tweet.

The congressman’s comments were followed by a volley of articles from the Jereusalem Post, right-wing website Breitbart and a large number of other right wing sites.

“It is clearly part of an attempt to erase Muslim leaders from public life and also to keep deflecting from the real anti-Semitism of the right”, said Omar Suleiman.

Response from interfaith groups and members of the Muslim American activist community was swift.

The Dallas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-DFW) released a statement on Saturday calling on “people of conscience, including members of Congress, to stand in solidarity with Imam Omar Suleiman”.

“For years, Imam Omar has worked with Texans of all faiths and backgrounds to advance peace and interfaith understanding. We denounce these bigoted attacks, we call on House leadership to reject them, and we encourage interfaith leaders who have worked with Imam Omar to stand in solidarity with him.”

Linda Sasour, the Palestinian-American activist, also fired off a series of tweets in support Suleiman, describing the attacks as “another right-wing smear campaign to label a Palestinian American Muslim leader an anti-semite”.

She said that Suleiman had a track record of social justice work and had also established deep relationships with Jewish communities.

Suleiman delivered the opening prayer at the invitation of Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas. Johnson said she asked Suleiman to participate because he “has stood hand-in-hand with leaders of both parties in denouncing hate, bigotry and violence”.

In his prayer, Suleiman said, in part: “We pray for peace, not war, love not hate, benevolence not greed, unity not division.”

“Let us be for truth, no matter who is for or against it. And justice, no matter who is for or against. And hope, no matter what obstacles lie ahead.”


View full video of his opening prayer here:


Source of article: Middle Eastern Eye

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