Founded in 1988, MPAC is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of Muslim Americans. Since its inception, MPAC has worked to establish a vibrant Muslim American community that will enrich American society through promoting the Islamic values of mercy, justice, peace, human dignity, freedom, and equality for all. As a matter of policy, MPAC does not accept any funds from foreign governments or entities, and consequently only works for the interests of American Muslims. Central to our vision is the proposition that being an American and being a Muslim go hand-in-hand. MPAC aims to partner with public officials, media professionals, interfaith religious leaders, and civic leaders to offer intelligent and nuanced analysis of domestic and foreign policy issues that affect American Muslims. In all its actions, MPAC works diligently to go beyond simple stereotypes and to demonstrate that Muslims worship God, abhor global terrorism, stand against oppression, and are part of the fabric of American life. MPAC is committed to working with Members of Congress and government agencies to formulate effective policies to counteract terrorism and extremism. To this end, we work with the FBI to enhance law enforcement’s relationship with Muslim communities, with the State Department to build bridges and understanding between the U.S. and the Muslim world, with the Department of Homeland Security to improve outreach to the Muslim community, and MPAC sits on a federal interagency council hosted by the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Other important contributions include: MPAC’s National Grassroots Campaign to Fight Terrorism has garnered the endorsement and participation of over 600 mosques and Muslim institutions across the country. In November 2002, MPAC testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Arlen Specter, on An Assessment of Tools Needed to Fight the Financing of Terrorism. MPAC has sponsored numerous Capitol Hill forums on topics which include: America’s Image in the Muslim World, Religious Freedom in the Muslim World, Nuclear Disarmament, and the Islamic Stand Against Terrorism. In September 2003, MPAC published its second counterterrorism policy paper entitled A Review of U.S. Counterterrorism Policy: American Muslim Critique & Recommendations. General Brent Scowcroft, former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs to Presidents George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, described it as “a serious and thoughtful document that should be valuable to all policy-makers. Counterterrorism analysis from an American Muslim perspective is critical to the decision-making process.” In August 2004, Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT) read from testimony he requested from MPAC on the 9/11 Commission Recommendations on public diplomacy in the Muslim world. MPAC's testimony to Congress provided one of the few American Muslim critiques to the 9/11 Commission's report.

MPAC understands that previous comments and press cause concern among policymakers who seek genuine and effective Muslim American allies. With that in mind, we welcome the opportunity to address the concerns and place our comments and positions on critical foreign policy issues in their proper context. However, it should be clear that MPAC is an American institution working to promote America’s interests and image in all settings from an unwavering domestic perspective. MPAC is proud of its two-decade record of contributions to policymaking, interfaith dialogue, Muslim integration and civic participation.

ON ISRAEL & 9/11: Hours after the 9/11 attacks, Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati appeared on an NPRaffiliate in Los Angeles to discuss the possibility of a backlash against Muslim Americans. AlMarayati made an ill-considered remark in response to a caller's accusation that Islam was responsible for 9/11.1 At the time of the show, three hours after the World Trade Center attacks, no one had any idea who was responsible for the attacks. The following day on the same program, Al-Marayati recognized his error on air and later apologized in person to the members of the Los Angeles Muslim-Jewish Dialogue, who accepted the apology. 2 Al-Marayati also expressed his regret for the comment in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.3 MPAC officially recognizes the state of Israel. In July 2002, the organization issued the following statement: “MPAC endorses the principle of a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, one state of Palestine and one state of Israel, both with secure and defined borders.”4 In 2005, MPAC launched NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change5 with the Progressive Jewish Alliance to develop mutual understanding between young Muslim and Jewish Professionals in Southern California, and to showcase the positive impact that Jews and Muslims can have when the work together for the greater good. ON HEZBOLLAH: MPAC has never supported Hezbollah or any other foreign group. When Hezbollah targeted civilians, MPAC condemned their actions as terrorism, which MPAC defines as targeting non-combatants with violence to achieve political or ideological gains. MPAC has consistently and repeatedly condemned suicide bombings: “Based on our firm belief in Islam, MPAC condemns the latest round of suicide attacks against civilians in Israel. We offer our condolences to the families of the victims.”6 “MPAC condemns the suicide bombing attack against innocent civilians that took place at Hebrew University in East Jerusalem today, killing seven people.”7

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KCRW-LA 89.9, “Which Way L.A.?” 11 September 2001, hosted by Warren Olney. KCRW-LA 89.9, “Which Way L.A.?” 12 September 2001, hosted by Warren Olney. 3 Salam Al-Marayati and Maher Hathout, “Bush Is Setting the Right Tone,” Los Angeles Times, 28 September 2001. 4 “Ceasefire Announcement Presents Fragile Opportunity”, February 9, 2005 (http://www.mpac.org/article.php?id=162) . See also “Envisioning Peace: A Muslim American Perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, published in June 2007 (available at http://www.mpac.org/publications/envisioning-peace/). 5 "NewGround: A Groundbreaking Muslim-Jewish Partnership", Southern California InFocus, 9 February 2007 (http://www.infocusnews.net/content/view/987/187/). Find out more about NewGround at http://www.newgroundproject.org/. 6 “Condemnation of Suicide Bomb Attacks”, Muslim Public Affairs Council, 4 March 1996. 7 “MPAC Condemns Bombings in Israel,” Muslim Public Affairs Council, 31 July 2002.

MPAC unequivocally condemns terrorism in all forms, while maintaining a critical perspective toward the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. International law recognizes the right of an occupied people to resist, however, we unequivocally oppose and condemn suicide bombings as a form of resistance. It is in this context that MPAC officials have criticized Israel’s policies with regard to targeted assassinations and recognized the right of Palestinians and Lebanese living under occupation to defend themselves against Israeli troops. MPAC supports neither Hamas nor Hezbollah in any of its literature or statements. Al-Marayati’s statement described the military conflict between Israel and Lebanon over Israeli violation of international law in southern Lebanon.

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