The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose officials in the past have been convicted for being associated with Muslim terrorist groups, said it will announce at a news conference Tuesday that it is launching an “education campaign” and will distribute 100,000 copies of the Koran to local, state and national leaders. The books will provide an English translation and commentary.
CAIR said the distribution is prompted by U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent speech in Cairo, in which he said he wants to reach out to Muslims throughout the world. He praised the Muslim community in the U.S, whose values he said incorporate tenets of Islam. President Obama, whose father was a Muslim, quoted the Koran four times in his speech in Cairo and used the word “violence” instead of “terror” in his reference to extremists.
"Through this ground-breaking outreach initiative, we hope not only to educate policy-makers and opinion leaders about Islam, but also to provide an opportunity for American Muslims to reach out to their fellow citizens of other faiths," said CAIR board chairman, North Carolina State Senator Larry Shaw.
However, the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has charged that CAIR is a product of the Islamic Association for Palestine, and other media have accused it of promoting militant Muslim views.
CAIR previously has been funded in part by the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, some of whose former officials recently were convicted for funneling money to terrorist groups.