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Riz Khan
Islamophobia in the US
Riz examines the state of Muslim-American relations.
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2008 13:48 GMT

Curiosity has driven many Americans to learn more
about Islam [GALLO/GETTY] 
Muslims in the West have been regarded with suspicion in many circles, and the 9/11 attacks only made things worse. In a pluralistic society like the US, millions of Muslims enjoy freedoms that do not exist in the Muslim world. But at the same time, many have faced acts of hatred and discrimination - and many of their organisations have been shut down or come under massive scrutiny.

The surge of curiosity about Islam has led many Americans to learn more about the religion and the Arabic language. But some say that Muslim groups sometimes cross the line between education and indoctrination.

A recent incident in Texas, in the southern United States, highlights the challenge. Representatives of the largest Muslim advocacy group in the country, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), were invited to a junior high school to give a 40-minute presentation on Islam. Parents were outraged, the principal was removed, and religious leaders said that "religious indoctrination" had no place in public schools.

Some US opinion leaders go further, claiming that CAIR is a front for terrorists, receiving funding from Muslim states that support terrorism, and secretly wants to turn the US into an Islamic theocracy.

On Monday Riz talks to one of the Texas religious leaders who opposes CAIR, Pastor Bob Phillips, and CAIR's national communications director, Ibrahim Hooper, about the state of Muslim-American relations.

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This episode of the Riz Khan show aired on Monday, June 30, 2008

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Al Jazeera
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