"We want to be Americans. Religion is a private issue. We ran away from Political Islam in Iran, but it has followed us…. CAIR [the Council on American-Islamic Relations] has created this image that all 3 million Muslims in America are the same and CAIR represents them - which is not true.… Bin Laden and Political Islam have been created because [Islamists] have felt that they are being dragged into the 21st century from the 6th century."

--- Excerpts of remarks by Manda Ervin, an American Muslim who fled Iran following the 1979 revolution, to a conference of Muslim moderates on Capitol Hill.

Ervin was part of an unusual hearing featuring American Muslims on Capitol Hill Sept. 24 that was led by Rep. Sue Myrick, a North Carolina Republican and head of the Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus. In addition to Ervin, participants included Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy; Hedieh Mirahmadi, president of the World Organization for Resource Development & Education (WORDE); Shadi Osier, head of the Islamic Supreme Council of America; and Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a former radical Islamist who has become a vocal critic of the Ground Zero mosque.

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