Salam Al-Marayati 'Takes Five:' Working to Debunk Myths about Muslim Americans

November 16, 2006

Source: Journal Sentinel

Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, will talk on "Overcoming Exclusion and Bigotry in America" in a free lecture at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, 4707 S. 13th St. The council, with an office in Washington, D.C., lobbies for American Muslims' civil rights and has other activities. It denounced the Taliban in Afghanistan and condemned suicide bombings in Israel, the Ayatollah Khomeini's call for novelist Salman Rushdie's death and the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Al-Marayati was among 15 Muslim American leaders President Bush met with after the attacks. Tom Heinen of the Journal Sentinel staff spoke with him.

Q. You say bigotry is worsening at political levels and lessening at the grass roots, where people get to know Muslims. The stereotypes?

A.That Islam is innately violent, oppresses women and is against Jews and Christians. Those are what the hate-mongers are exploiting, because they take an example of a Muslim who is extremist as if that is a demonstration of Islam, not an aberration of it.