Obama’s Envoy to Islamic World: “There’s Things You Can Say About Islam That You Can’t Say About Other Religions”…

Speaking to about 400 people in Livonia, President Barack Obama’s envoy to the Muslim world said there is a “disturbing rise in anti-Islamic sentiment” that may be caused in part by the poor economy.

“The things you can say about Islam you can’t say about any other faith,” Rashad Hussain, Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said Saturday night at the annual fund-raising dinner of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a Muslim-founded think tank based in Clinton Township. “During tough economic times, groups that are seen to be the other … the scapegoating can increase.”

Hussain travels the world on behalf of the U.S. government to improve outreach to the Muslim world. Metro Detroit has a sizeable Muslim population.

Hussain said he’s concerned about the increasing vitriol directed at Muslims, which he said may be due to their increasing visibility in the U.S.

It’s a “reaction to a lot of progress made by Muslim communities,” he said.

Hussain said that the backlash against Muslim-Americans has precedent in the U.S., as African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Irish-Americans, Japanese-Americans, and Chinese-Americans have faced similar challenges.

He urged the Muslim-American crowd at the Livonia dinner to form alliances with other groups, noting that Jewish-Americans have been active in fighting for the rights of other groups in American history.

One challenge for Muslim-Americans, said Hussain, is that “Muslims are still seen as an aggressor” because of terrorists like Osama bin Laden and the Times Square bomber.

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