Faith leaders: 'Bachmann's fear-mongering hurts our country'

  • Updated: August 5, 2012 - 9:54 PM

As interfaith leaders, we are appalled by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's discriminatory and unsubstantiated accusations about Muslims.

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Michele Bachmann.

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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Minnesota is known for its strong track record of interfaith work. Our interfaith alliances run deep and encompass a wide network of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Baha'i groups. We are proud of the trust and goodwill that our synergistic efforts have engendered over the years.

As interfaith leaders, we are appalled by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's discriminatory and unsubstantiated accusations. We strongly repudiate her past and current efforts to malign by association honorable American Muslims and respectable Muslim organizations that are serving our nation with great distinction. We deplore her finger-pointing and name-calling against the American Muslim community.

As faith communities, we have a strong record of standing up to fear, hate and discrimination. Our initiatives under "Minnesotans Standing Together" sent an unambiguous message that as Minnesotans we stand for peaceful coexistence and that we stand against all those who promote fear and demonizing of any group.

We are proud of interfaith programs in our state that seek to build strong and long-lasting understanding among people of various faith traditions. We aim to further strengthen these bonds of friendship among Minnesotans.

We want to send a clear message to Congresswoman Bachmann that her efforts to demonize American Muslims are not welcomed by the Minnesota faith community. The safety and security of our country necessitates that we work together and not sow the seeds of division.

Bachmann's fear-mongering hurts our country. We the undersigned faith leaders stand in solidarity with our fellow American Muslims. Any attack on them is an attack on all of us.

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This commentary was signed by:

Owais Bayunus, director of interfaith, Islamic Center of Minnesota

The Rev. Tom Duke, convener, Saint Paul Interfaith Network

Rabbi Amy Eilberg, interfaith conversations coordinator, University of St. Thomas Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning

Makram Elamin, imam, Masjid An Nur

The Rev. John Gutterman, covenant minister, United Church of Christ in New Brighton

Joan Haan, St. Paul Interfaith Network

Terry Nichols, codirector, Muslim Christian Dialogue Center, University of St. Thomas

Mahdi Nur, president, Muslim American Society of Minnesota

Lori Saroya, executive director, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota

Zafar Siddiqui, director of interfaith and civic relations, Islamic Resource Group.

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