CAIR Urges U.S. to Probe Anti-Muslim Attacks in Africa, Sri Lanka

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the US’ largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, on Wednesday, called on the President Joe Biden administration and Congress to investigate reports of Muslim minority communities being discriminated against and attacked by state and non-state actors in certain African countries and Sri Lanka.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (Africa) and Amnesty International (Sri Lanka) had in separate claims alleged anti-Muslim violence from the government of Sri Lanka as well as discrimination against Muslim minorities in Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria.

“State discrimination and violence against Muslim and minority faith communities should not just be condemned by our government but responded to in the form of punitive designations and sanctions – whether it is occurring in countries where Muslims are the majority or minority,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw.

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Amnesty had issued the report “Sri Lanka: From burning houses to burning bodies: Anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in Sri Lanka” this week, documenting incidents where Muslims have been targeted, attacked and discriminated against, by various state and non-state actors.

CAIR supports Amnesty International’s call for the Sri Lankan government to immediately end the increasing police, armed forces, and communal violence – and discriminatory state policies – targeted at the island’s Muslim minority.

Also on Wednesday, USCIRF published its recommendations that the State Department should designate certain African countries as countries of particular concern (CPCs) or special watchlist (SWL) countries for “state persecution of Muslim minorities in Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria; attacks on Muslim leaders and houses of worship; and targeting of Muslims in the context of political conflict.”

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In a recent report, USCIRF documented prosecutions of Shia Muslims in Egypt, Nigeria, and Comoros.

USCIRF recommended in its 2021 Annual Report that the US Department of State designates Nigeria and Eritrea as Countries of Particular Concern for their involvement in and toleration of systematic and egregious violations of international religious freedom. In addition, USCIRF recommended that the State Department place Egypt and Algeria on its Special Watch List.

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, promote understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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