The Council on American-Islamic Relations wants people to know that Muslims in the United States are deeply patriotic. A large majority of them hoist the American flag outside their homes and businesses, celebrate the Fourth of July and vote.
"They are decidedly American in their outlook, values and attitude," said Parvez Ahmed, chairman of the board of CAIR, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.
But they're also worried about racial profiling and a growing anti-Islamic backlash to worldwide terrorism that they believe puts them on the receiving end of suspicious looks and hate crimes. Fifty-eight percent of U.S. Muslims reported being discriminated against or profiled in 2006, according to a CAIR study, a figure the group said has sharply risen in recent years.
Ahmed spoke to about 50 people Thursday at Tate Hall at the University of Missouri in an event urging the traditionally nonpolitical American Muslim community to tackle problems through political action.