Following are excerpts from an interview with Zead Ramadan, President of CAIR-NY, which aired on Press TV on May 13, 2012.
Zead Ramadan: I think that the United States and Americans need to realize that we have extremist elements in America, who are not Muslim, and who believe that America should only be one color, one way of living, and that is not what America is all about. America has invited immigrants from around the world to build its country, over its history.
Whenever you think that America, the “land of the free,” is going to grow up and go beyond it [bigotry], more intolerant, extremist voices come out. It seems that they come out in times of elections, because some groups think that they can get large groups of religious followers to side with them if they say negative things about other people. The easiest target… the minority… The easiest target has been the Muslim people.
In Nazi Germany, they targeted the minority, the Jewish minority, and unfortunately, it went from only philosophy, to rhetoric, to action. That is not where we want to go in America.
I don’t think we will ever get there, but I don’t think we should allow the road to continue to be built towards that direction, because the comments that are being made against Muslims are very eerily echoing the comments that were made against Jews by Nazis. A lot of people say they want Muslims to be taken out of the country, that they should have different citizenship status, and all of this stuff is an insult to the Constitution of the US.
What we are seeing is that attacks on Muslims are on the rise again because there is an election season. Every time there is an election cycle, some people, like Newt Gingrich, Santorum, and even Mitt Romney, had made very negative comments about Muslims. That makes people think: If someone who is running for president could make negative comments, and he is spreading negative rhetoric about Muslims… Then that must embolden them to act negatively towards Muslims, and increase their sense of prejudice, and instead of just having it in their heads, they put it on their hands. I think this is very dangerous.