By Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service
A Muslim advocacy organization has released public service announcements -- including one featuring a Muslim firefighter who responded on 9/11 -- as part of a campaign to fight recent anti-Muslim bigotry.
"Muslim Americans were among the victims and also Muslim Americans were among the first responders," said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations at a Wednesday (Sept. 1) news conference at the National Press Club.
"We also should acknowledge that 9/11 hit us all hard and we should not allow those who seek political and religious division in the United States to win," Awad said.
One of the public service announcements features Hisham Tawfiq of the New York Fire Department, tearfully recalling how he learned his firefighting colleague was missing after the attacks on the Twin Towers.
"I'm a New York City firefighter and I responded to 9/11 and I am Muslim," he said in the ad.
Awad was joined by other Muslim organization leaders who decried recent attacks on Muslims and protests of a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero and mosques in other parts of the country. They urged greater local police protection of Muslims in their communities.
Imam Mahdi Bray, executive director of Muslim American Society Freedom, said his organization is working with civic and religious leaders in Gainesville, Fla., to counter a local church's plans to burn copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, on Sept. 11 by holding community service projects that day.
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