AAI Calls on Rep. Goode to Apologize for Anti-Muslim Remarks
WASHINGTON – Dec. 20, 2006 – The Arab American Institute (AAI) calls on Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.) to apologize for and retract racist and inflammatory statements he made in a constituent letter regarding Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim American elected to Congress.
The grossly inaccurate (and poorly written) diatribe rails against diversity, the immigrant population and Muslims in a failed attempt to link patriotism with blatant racism.
Goode begins his letter as an attack on Ellison’s decision to place his hand on the Quran during an unofficial and optional swearing-in ceremony for members of the House of Representatives. He goes on to use Arab-baiting tactics to incite fear and intolerance, linking immigration to fears of Muslim and Arab integration and the erosion of the American way of life.
“Virgil Goode should immediately apologize for the ignorant and reckless statements he’s been issuing through taxpayer-supported mail,” said AAI President Dr. James Zogby. “Statements such as Rep. Goode’s incite fear and mistrust between communities, and misrepresent the contribution of a large segment of the American people.”
Zogby lauded Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), who quickly voiced his concerns to Goode regarding the letter, and highlighted the contributions made by the many Muslim Americans who live within New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District.
“Other members of Congress should join Congressman Pascrell in condemning Virgil Goode’s remarks, and should call on him to apologize to Keith Ellison and the entire Muslim American community.”
Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities.
For more information on AAI, please visit http://www.aaiusa.org